If She Can't See It, She Can't Be It..
That's the tagline of the 20x20 movement, the first of its kind in Ireland that champions women and girls in sport. 20×20 is focused on a cultural shift in Ireland so that girls and women in sport are seen as strong, valuable and worth celebrating.
Over the coming weeks, we're teaming up with Waterford Sports Partnership to get people thinking about what we all can do to support women and teenage girls to participate in sport and physical activity, and what we can do to help them to continue that long into the future.
Over the course of the campaign, we'll meet people involved in women's sporting organizations across Waterford. Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, a coach, or a volunteer in a sports club there’s certainly something to learn in this series from all speakers!
If your sports club would like more information on training opportunities available to club coaches and volunteers, or guidance on how to get women and teenage girls to be physically active visit www.waterfordsportspartnership.ie.
Waterford Sports Partnership also wants you to know at this time that there is a wide range of free resources on their website to support women and teenage girls to be physically active for the benefit of their physical and mental health during the current level 5 restrictions. You can keep up to date by following them on social media - Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Pauline Casey and Louise Barry - Waterford Sports Partnership
Pauline Casey and Louise Barry are both Sports Development Officers with Waterford Sports Partnership. Pauline and Louise work together to develop sustainable initiatives for women and teenage girls to be physically active in Waterford.
The impact that initiatives like participation programmes developed by local Sports Development Officers can have on getting teenage girls and women active is powerful. Evidence of this was seen at the Camogie Development Initiative that was launched in 2019. Waterford Sports Partnership worked in partnership with Waterford Camogie to deliver a series of participation programmes to develop and improve the skills of girls playing camogie in Waterford. This participation programme reached over 170 girls, and if it wasn’t for this programme these girls may have quit playing due to their non involvement at competition level. Participation programmes like this allow for conversations to happen between Sports Development Officers, parents, coaches, and teenage girls to help give everybody involved a better insight and understanding on how we all can play a part engaging teenage girls and women to be more physically active.
Initiatives can also help Sports Development Officers to identify the training needs of clubs. Waterford Sports Partnership can support clubs to up skill parents, coaches and players to fill roles that are vitally important to their clubs structure. Teenage girls need to see more women lead and demonstrate a role within their club. Waterford Sports Partnership can provide training in areas such as safeguarding, first aid and disability inclusion. With that being said they are not just limited in providing these courses, when needs are identified other relevant areas of training can be explored further.
Waterford Sports Partnership wants Waterford clubs to know is that it is possible for your club to have a real and lasting impact on women and teenage girls in your community becoming more physically active and more involved in sport in any capacity. Please contact Pauline or Louise to discuss how that can be achieved for your club.
To learn more about Waterford Sports Partnership and the range of supports that they can offer your club please visit waterfordsportspartnership.ie for contact details.
Lynne McEnery - St Paul's Boxing Club
Waterford woman Lynne McEnery sat down with Community Sports Development Officer Sinéad Brannigan to talk all about her sporting and coaching career to date. Lynne has a list of kickboxing and boxing achievements that would be the envy of many men and women across Ireland.
Lynne has participated in sport for more than 30 years. She first started kickboxing at the age of 7. She was supported by her mother who brought her along to a local kickboxing club, Billy O’Sullivans. Lynne claims that she was influenced into kickboxing by her four brothers and the well known film ‘The Karate Kid’. The feeling associated with getting out and being physically active and the positive and constructive feedback from club coaches kept Lynne returning to training to make her perform better.
Lynne hit all the heights in kickboxing and then decided to make a move to boxing. Supported by her husband Lynne made the decision to join St. Paul's Boxing Club to hone her boxing skills. St. Paul's Boxing Club had many well known boxing role models that Lynne felt would bring out the best in her boxing ability, such as Neil Gough, John Finn, Seamus Cowman and Jimmy Payne. Lynne had aspirations to “make it to the Olympics and represent Ireland” because she had reached the top of kickboxing and needed a new goal and something to aim towards. Lynne ended her competitive boxing career without the opportunity to represent Ireland at the Olympics only due to her weight class not being recognised. Albeit a setback it did not stop her involvement in sport, she is now a boxing coach in St. Pauls Boxing Club and has witnessed the impact of sporting role models like Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington, whom have had Olympic and World Championship success respectively. According to Lynne, throughout Ireland more girls and young kids are now trying boxing as a sport as a result of seeing these girls on the world stage #cantseecantbe.
As a coach Lynne feels that the most important thing for coaching kids in a club is to have fun and encourage everyone. The reason why she volunteers her time to St. Pauls Boxing Club is because she benefitted from volunteers and its now her turn to give back, “if they didn’t give back there would be nothing”. Lynne still spends time training and practicing new skills which she likes to share with the boxers that she trains. In relation to being a female coach she feels that there is no difference and you just get on with it. Members respect her experience and are willing to learn from that. Her advice for coaching girls is clear – support, encourage and ask them how the training is going. However, what’s more important is that you let them enjoy it!
Lynnes’ Kickboxing and Boxing Achievements
2 World Kickboxing Championships
3 European Kickboxing Championships
11 World Kickboxing Medals
Finalist WAKO Pro World Kickboxing Title – 10x2 minute rounds narrowly missed out by 2 points
1 Intermediate Irish Boxing Championship
3 Elite Irish Boxing Championships
Captain of Irish Team for the European Boxing Championships 2011
Gold Medals for Multinational Boxing Competitions
Best Boxer Award ‘Golden Girl Boxing Champions’ Sweden
Jason King - Ballyduff AFC and Get Ireland Walking
Jason King, Chairperson of Ballyduff AFC and Get Ireland Walking National Co-Ordinator met Community Sports Development Officer, Sinéad Brannigan to chat about the successful development of girl’s soccer in the club.
Currently, the club have approximately 40% female membership; over 250 girls play soccer with the club from academy level right up to adult level. Jason credited the great effort made by the coaches, volunteers and committee members for increasing female participation in the club. It is his opinion that the reason for the growth in girls playing soccer in the club is due to their strong connection with the local school. He also mentions that the soccer club is a good feasible option for parents in the area looking for an organised and structured activity for their daughters.
Jason explained that when a girl joins the club they’re mixed with the boys at academy level and then once they reach the under 10 age group the girls then form their own teams. Girls have always been supported and encouraged to play soccer in Ballyduff AFC. In the past they would’ve played on the boys teams right up to the under 16 age group. The reason for this was to give girls the opportunity to play soccer and be part of a team even when there weren’t enough girls to form their own teams.
The clubs focus is on addressing the need for all children to be physically active in Ballyduff and the surrounding areas. Jason believes that girls should be told about the physical, mental, and social health benefits of playing sports. He commented that ‘clubs are where friendships are made’.
Jason mentioned that Ballyduff AFC, Bohemians FC and Park Rangers AFC have started to work together and they’re in the early stages of forming a girl’s soccer network to address concerns that have been identified by clubs like scheduling and pitch availability for girl’s teams, amongst other things. The networks aim is to be action and solution based and it will be supported by Sports Development Officers from Waterford Sports Partnership and the FAI. The well known Peamount United located in Dublin have shared their journey with Jason and he hopes that he can apply their learning’s to support the network to create a strong sustainable plan for girls soccer in Waterford for many years to come.
Ballyduff AFC made the decision to sign up to the 20x20 Club Charter so that they can play their role to promote girls in sport, to increase participation in girl’s sports, and to actively welcome the creation of support networks for girl’s sports. The club have designated a 20x20 Club Champion. Her name is Laura Fletcher. Laura is a club coach and she will be part of the new support network along with another longstanding club member. Identifying and preparing girls to undertake volunteer roles within the club is important to Ballyduff AFC. At the moment, the club has a number of girls that give their time to coach the younger age groups. The club would like to encourage more girls to come back during their teenage years and develop their coaching skills with the club in the future.
The facilities in Ballyduff AFC would be the envy of many soccer clubs across the county and country. The club has playing pitches, astro turf pitches, and a walking track. The walking track is a safe place and is well lit, and in his role as National Co-Ordinator for Get Ireland Walking he knows that walking is a favourable activity for women wanting to be more physically active across the country. He has witnessed the benefit of the club having a walking track to increase physical activity levels for everyone that visits the club, especially Mums that drop their children off for training sessions.
Fiona Crotty-Laffan - Ballyduff Lower GAA Club
Ballymacarbry native, Fiona Crotty Laffan met Community Sports Development Officer, Sinéad Brannigan to chat about her introduction to sport, and why she encourages and supports her daughter to play sport and be part of her local club. Fiona is an understated owner of a vast amount of All- Ireland medals from a variety of different sports. She is most known for the role that she played in the great success of the Waterford Ladies Football teams in the nineties.
The community games were the sporting focus of Fionas’ life growing up. She participated in a variety of sports – gymnastics, athletics, ladies gaelic football and much more. Fiona’s mother was part of the well structured community games committee in Ballymacarbry and her sister (Marie Crotty) was responsible for coaching her community games team that won two All- Irelands. Fiona then went on to represent Waterford in ladies football at county level – U16, minor and senior. She credits her club, Ballymacarbry Ladies Football for her success and for the great memories and experiences that she gained from playing football.
Fiona had many local football role models and she believes that this is the reason why she continued to play football at a young age. Fiona’s’ sister, Marie Crotty made history in 1986 as the first woman ever to score a point in Croke Park. Fiona was regularly brought to matches and witnessed the friendships that were made and the success that great footballers like Bernie Ryan, Bridget Mc Grath, Marie Ryan, and her own sister benefitted from because of their involvement in ladies football. In Fiona’s own words, “Success breeds success”. #cantseecantbe
Fiona had firsthand experience of the strong leadership that is needed at club and county level to create good structures and to build successful pathways for all. Michael Ryan and Bridget Mc Grath were the great leaders during Fiona’s playing career. They were passionate and both of them instilled that passion and love for the game to Fiona and all of her teammates, in turn Ballymacarbry Ladies Football and Waterford Ladies Football teams reaped the highest rewards in the land during the nineties.
To this day, Fiona is still involved in football with Ballyduff Lower Ladies Football and has become a role model herself to her own daughter and other girls. When asked by the club if she would be willing to support the set up of a club for girls in the area her immediate reaction was yes. Fiona wanted her daughter who was two years old at the time to have sporting opportunities like she did in Ballymacarbry at a young age. Fiona’s decision to encourage her daughter Michaela to play sport comes directly as a result of her positive experiences from being involved herself. She wanted her daughter to experience what she had experienced in the past and she was aware that playing sport would improve her confidence and self esteem, which is important for young girls.
Sporting values can transfer into daily life and Fiona agreed that she has seen that happen in her daughter’s day to day life and amongst other girls in the club too. Values like consideration for others and encouragement of others is just some of the values that she has seen already and she thinks that these will last long into the future. Fiona commented that she has noticed with the girls that “being part of a sports club makes making friends easier too”.
Fiona’s advice for young girls today and if she could talk to younger self is clear and simple “relax, enjoy and live in the moment”. The decorative All Star footballer added that “it’s important to remember nothing lasts forever”.
Fiona Crotty Laffan Sporting Achievements
U14 Community Games All Ireland Title 1987 & 1988
U16 All Ireland Title 1991
Minor All Ireland Titles 1991 & 1993
Senior Club All Ireland Titles with Ballymacarbry 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998
Senior County All Ireland 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1998
Holds record for winning four All Ireland titles in Ladies Gaelic Football in one year.
Captained Minor Team 1993
Captained Ballymacarbry to win All Ireland in 1994
All Star Award 1994