St. Colmcilles Experience Rapid Increase in Numbers

St Colmcilles, based in East Meath, have always had a good tradition in ladies football but as club representative, Paul Nash, explains there has been an explosion in the numbers of girls playing since they took the decision to run separate evenings for girls.


‘We run a very extensive program in each of the 5 primary schools where we coach all the 1st and 2nd classes at in Piltown. On each Wednesday between September and December kids travel to the club for a 45 minute session where we coach 300 kids in the basics of Gaelic Football. Each week 4 coaches give up their own time to coach these kids.


This program has meant that our Academy on a Sunday would normally see anywhere up to 250 kids ranging in ages from 5 – 9 years of age. Last year we noticed however that we had a large attrition on the girls and after talking to parents and the kids we took the decision to split the girls from the boys as soon as they join the club.


Within weeks our girls numbers started to rise and around the same time we were offered the Gaelic 4 Girls program. This started in February 2012 and we had in excess of 120 girls registered for the program. The program ran on a Tuesday night and was a great success. We now run U6/U7, U8 & U9 training solely for girls. These take place during our academy on a Sunday.


Meath County board currently offer an U8 blitz program but we found that apart from exceptions the girls were not keen to participate as it would be mixed teams.

We then decided to run a dedicated U9 Girls blitz to accommodate the 7/8/9 year old girls. Our plan was to offer it to the Meath clubs and possibly neighbouring clubs from Louth to make up numbers. To our surprise there was a great response from the Meath clubs and we had to eventually close the competition as we already had 16 teams from 11 different clubs within Meath that wanted to participate. Feedback from clubs in louth was similar to what we were hearing from the Meath clubs and we discovered that many of the larger clubs in Meath and also Louth are now splitting the boys from girls but were finding that there is no football provided solely for girls from U9 downwards.


As part of the blitz we offered some teams the opportunity to bring across the really young girls 5 – 6 years of age to play against our own younger girls. This was a great success and parents were delighted with the opportunity for these girls to be able to play another team and get a chance to line out in their team jersey.


The U9 teams each played 4 games and the games were based on the Go-Games rules with 9 a side and with no scores being taken. Our own U16 ladies team were the referees on the day and the U9 loved the fact that it was an all-girls affair. Each player was given a drink and a snack after the game and tea and refreshments were provided to all the parents. St Colmcilles have invested heavily in our academy and have the ability to set up at least 10 pitches each with its own set of goals, poles, dividing cones etc Feedback from parents / visiting teams has been very positive and we have already taken the decision to run the blitz again next year.


There are lots of photos from the blitz on our Ladies Facebook page:!/media/set/?set=oa.10151055796983251&type=1


Paul added that St Colmcilles are always very keen to try out any new programs or initiatives that will help grow our club.

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