Minister unveils Football For All mural at Harolds Cross YFC

Padraig Conlon 28 Oct 2021

MORE than 200 people recently gathered outdoors at Harold’s Cross YFC for the official unveiling of the Football For All Mural by Minister Jack Chambers.

The large crowd of young players, families, and members of the local community were also joined by Oireachtas members Jim O’Callaghan T.D. and Ivana Bacik T.D., as well as Dublin City Councillor Deirdre Conroy on Tuesday, October 19.

The FAI was doubly represented by local development officer David Rake and by Pearl Slattery – assistant coach to the Irish Women’s U17 team, and soon to feature for Shelbourne in the FAI Women’s Cup Final against Wexford Youths.

Slattery is also lead on a new innovative project: the Disney Playmaker for Girls programme which seeks to attract non playing girls to football through fun activity and exercise as opposed to more orthodox club academy routes.

Harold’s Cross YFC is delighted to have been selected as one of only 30 clubs nationally to take part in the inaugural Playmaker scheme.

Before the formalities Minister Chambers took time to observe a Disney Playmaker session in progress, led by Harold’s Cross coaches Kathleen Healey and Aideen Darcy.

Both women have played a huge part in the club’s drive to encourage girl’s participation in football, which is set to culminate with the first girls team in the clubs’ 60 years history playing league football from January next year.

Arclit by footlights with the mural behind him, club chairperson Larry Fitzpatrick greeted the assembled group who were really enthusiastic to see vibrant and colorful artwork by professional artist Shane Ha.

The Football For All mural

Fitzpatrick was at pains to acknowledge the club’s huge gratitude to Dublin City Council who, since taking ownership of Rosary Park and Hall, have been working with the club and community to plan and develop the site and its facilities.

He also thanked Minister Chambers for his visit and the keen interest he had shown in the Clubs’ activities and plans, and the club chairman went on to emphasis how transformative the intsallation of an all-weather pitch could prove for the members and wider community.

Girls coach and club liason officer for the Disney Playmaker programme Kathleen Healey made a short speech to outline to the wider audience the ideas behind the new initiative and also stressed how the clubs’ academy and its volunteers’ commitment was leading to more and more young girls taking part, enjoying football and, ultimately, to the creation of all girls teams.

This theme of girls participation – and the importance of maintaining it as the girls grow older – was picked up by Minister Chambers who explained that the government and his ministry were focused on growing and furthering female involvement in sport, as well as encouraging all sections of society to become active once again as COVID restrictions have been eased.

Chambers also made reference to the Sports Capital Grant scheme that commits millions each year to clubs such as Harold’s Cross YFC to build or improve their facilities.

As the mural was flooded in bright lights behind him, the Minister pulled down the green baize Subutteo cover to reveal a commemorative plaque to the raucous applause of the young players and adults.

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