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Golden girls who led the way into light - Dundalk's pioneering class reflect on daring deeds of 50 years ago


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Dundalk Ladies' footballers Paula Gorham, Marie Conway (nee Bingham), Kay O'Connor, Margret Enright (nee Murphy) and Marie O'Connell who played against Corinthian Nomads. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dundalk Ladies' footballers Paula Gorham, Marie Conway (nee Bingham), Kay O'Connor, Margret Enright (nee Murphy) and Marie O'Connell who played against Corinthian Nomads. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Dundalk Ladies' footballers Paula Gorham, Marie Conway (nee Bingham), Kay O'Connor, Margret Enright (nee Murphy) and Marie O'Connell who played against Corinthian Nomads. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The early history of Irish women's soccer, like so many female team sports, is so unrecorded and unheralded that it's little surprise Dundalk's pioneering women got the date wrong themselves. They were out by a full two years until a young Irish historian and the unlikely corroborative source of Dana helped put the record right recently.

Dundalk Ladies were in their vanguard in the swinging '60s. They were regular winners of an unofficial 'national league' which pre-dated the inaugural women's League of Ireland (12 teams, including themselves) which the WFAI set up upon its own foundation in 1973.

Their manager, Kevin Gaynor, was a huge advocate for women's soccer and his interest in the distaff game outside these shores meant Dundalk Ladies were also, remarkably, one of the 44 founding members of the British women's FA in November 1969.