St Albans Gaelic football club encouraging more girls to participate

St Albans-based St Colmcille’s Gaelic Football Club wants more girls aged eight to 12 to participate

St Albans-based St Colmcille’s Gaelic Football Club wants more girls aged eight to 12 to participate - Credit: Paul Blessing

A new initiative is aiming to get more young girls playing Gaelic football in the St Albans area.

Local Gaelic football club St Colmcille’s is participating in a programme called Gaelic4Girls, which aims to get more girls playing sports in general but specifically Gaelic football, which is played with a round ball, slightly smaller and heavier than a soccer ball, against rugby-style H-shaped goal posts.

In Gaelic you can catch the ball and you can pass either by kicking it or hand passing it. There is no restriction on the direction of the passes and although you can run with the ball after four steps you have to kick pass to yourself or bounce it.

Coach Paul Blessing said: "For the last number of years the club has put a lot of effort into the underage teams, with a strong emphasis on getting more girls to participate, led by Rebecca Carroll-Griffin who is one of the few female club chairpersons.

"The Gaelic4Girls programme gives girls a chance to learn a sport they may not have been familiar with, by participating they improve their health, they will gain so much confidence from learning a new sport which they will take into other parts of their lives, and it’s a great way to meet new friends or hang out with existing friends in a new environment."

The programme, which is aimed at eight to 12-year-olds, consists of eight weekly sessions every Wednesday at the Irish Centre in Cotslandswick from 5.30-6.30pm.

There is a one-off registration cost of £12 which is used to pay for the jersey each girl will receive upon completing the course. While it would be ideal for girls to attend every session this is not a requirement, but to get the most out of the programme they should attend the majority of them.

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