Ever since starting an academy for girls in 2001, it has always been a dream of mine to see an academy for girls football run by girls.
Well here we are in 2020 and the dream has come to fruition not only have we got one of our Senior Ladies running our girls academy on Saturday mornings in Shankill but through sheer hard work Aoibh Hall has stepped it up another level. The club has invested in Aoibh over the years and now their investment is paying dividends.
Aoibh has achieved so much in such a short time, and it is purely down to her own efforts that she is now being recognized as an up and coming coach among her peers
Well done to Shankill FC for recognizing the potential not just in Aoibh but in many of the fine young people within the club. With this ethos anything is possible.
The plan was to run the Academy as a School of Excellence' revealed the Director of the Academy Tony Poutch.
'It's a pilot scheme that now has foundations. It's gone really well. I had an idea to develop kids, bring them on, without competition, until a certain age'.
'It's great to see them put on the green jersey, in reference to Aine O'Gorman & Stephanie Roche to name a few. It just shows it can be done. But we cater to all levels. It's just not those who go on to achieve great things but beginners and those learning the game' stressed Tony.
Poutch put in a lot of homework before founding the Academy. He discussed the project with Irish Ladies' team boss Noel King and Niamh Spratt of the Ladies section of the FAI.
He also linked up with the Sports Council of Ireland. 'The coaches are actually vetted. The Code of Ethics is rigorously adhered to' he revealed.
Presently, Aoibh Hall of DLR Waves and Shankill FC Girls U14 MGL Premier League team offers her expertise running the Academy.
A goalkeeping coach is expected to join the staff in the near future whilst more female coaches being brought in is also in the pipeline.
'As the girls get older, it is possible that some of the girls may get involved themselves perhaps attend a few coaching courses to get their badges. It could be their way of putting something back in'.
2001 players have a lot in common with our present-day youngsters. Both sets of players like encouragement, and fun. They all want to learn and improve and by nature are competitive. Now we know how the player thinks we should be able to adopt our training programme to suit
Yours in sport
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