Sunday 25 August 2019

Wexford Youths lead way with inclusive approach

Wexford Youths' Maria Delahunty is challenged by Shelbourne Ladies' Courtney Higgins during the Continental Tyres FAI Women's Senior Cup Final game at Aviva Stadium. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Wexford Youths' Maria Delahunty is challenged by Shelbourne Ladies' Courtney Higgins during the Continental Tyres FAI Women's Senior Cup Final game at Aviva Stadium. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The main thing on the mind of Wexford Youths secretary Barry Devereux right now is finding a new manager for their women's team.

Devereux is only a recent appointment to his own role in the set-up but he's been involved with the club long enough to know that the Women's National League side is extremely important to the whole operation so finding an 'A' Licence holder to replace Gary Hunt is a pressing task.

A different committee used to run the affairs of Wexford Youths Women but a pooling of resources has led to integration into a single committee that also makes decisions with regard to the SSE Airtricity League side.

The women's team have been a huge success, and raised their profile by winning back-to-back league titles - and a double in 2015 - before Shelbourne recently foiled their three-in-a-row attempt.

That resulted in Champions League football coming to Ferrycarrig Park, a development that created a buzz and it also attracted sponsors that wanted to back the women's team as opposed to their male counterparts.

"Some local businesses who wouldn't row in behind the men's football team and would be more GAA-orientated rowed in behind that and it was brilliant," says Devereux.

At underage level, Wexford have boys and girls teams through the age groups so their ethos is clear from the get-go.

Devereux says that the club's committee does have a greater number of male representatives, although he points out the important work of Carrie Brady.

Yet the ratio merely reflects the profile of the people coming forward. In simple terms, the fact is that more men have expressed an interest in getting involved in that side of things.

But he stresses that the Youths have a modern and progressive attitude that makes all comers feel welcome. It is not a closed shop.

"It's definitely not an old man's all boys club," says Devereux. "I'm an openly gay man myself.

"We are a very inclusive club, the work is voluntary and everybody pitches in. So in terms of whether we're male or female, that doesn't matter.

"We are all passionate about football more than anything else. That's the important thing."

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