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HeadsUp! – January 2017


Recognition rolls in for Football For All programme

The Football Association of Ireland was delighted to be honoured at the CARA National Inclusive Awards, specificially for the work done by the Football For All programme.

FAI Football For All National Coordinator Oisin Jordan said: “This award recognises all the hard work over the last number of years to we have done to look to creating opportunities for all players to access and play football in their local community and the benefits of a collaborative approach to inclusion within the football family.

“I would like to extend my congratulations Carrigaline United for their win in the Best Inclusive Club category and also to Esker Celtic and Killarney for making the Runners-Up recognition in the same category. To have three FAI clubs in the final three out a large number of entries again tells us we are going in the right direction and that our clubs really are embracing their communities and all who live in them.

“This award also highlights the strength of the FAI’s Vision for the next five years where every person in Ireland will have the opportunity to reach their full potential no matter what that is. The FAI have also began a process with CARA Centre and Sport Ireland to improve our approach to inclusion which, in tandem with our new FFA Strategy launching in 2017, we will continue to develop our inclusive practices into the future.”

Kids getting their kicks with Futsal module

Futsal is alive and kicking, as evidenced by the recent FAI/Fingal County Council Futsal module, in conjunction with Swords Pavilions, that had over 900 boys and girls involved.

Based in Gormanston Park, Holywell and Applewood community centres in Swords, it is the biggest undertaking of Futsal in Ireland. The module caters for 92 teams from Under 8s through to Under 11s over a six-week period. With weather conditions making grass pitches unavailable at this time of year, the move indoors to play Futsal guarantee more hours for kids to play.

Futsal is the recognised five-a-side version of the beautiful game and continues to grow in popularity in Ireland. It is fast, technical and provides plenty of opportunities to score goals. Commenting on the start of the Futsal module, FAI Football Development Officer Paul Keogh said: “My colleague Mick Pender and I are delighted with the start of the module. We have significantly grown the program this year to cater for four age groups and have a considerable waiting list at that.

“We started with a coaches evening explaining the benefits of Futsal and the coaches, parents and, most importantly, the kids have really embraced it. We talk a lot about street football, but in Ireland Futsal is street football in its closest form. It is very encouraging to see other leagues and Development Officers rolling out similar modules around the country. I would like to thank Swords Pavilions who have been an excellent and supportive partner this year.”

To get a better insight to the Futsal module, check out this video

Special offer from Three for club and Leagues

After a terrific year in Irish football, the FAI’s primary sponsor Three have extended an outstanding offer to clubs and Leagues around the country.

For further information visit

Positive review of SSE Airtricity U19 & U17 Leagues

Coaches from the SSE Airtricity Under 19 and Under 17 Leagues attended a workshop led by FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter at the FAI National Training Centre.

A review was held with regards to the recently completed seasons in the National League underage sectors as club representatives had the opportunity to outline positives and areas for improvement from the campaign.

Republic of Ireland Under 19 head coach Tom Mohan gave an overview of an FAI study group visit to the UEFA U19 Championships this summer and outlined areas where the top underage national teams are focusing tactically.

A coaching session led by Mohan, Ireland U17 Head Coach Colin O Brien, Ireland U18 Head Coach Jim Crawford and Ireland U16 Head Coach Paul Osam took place on the pitch.

FAI National League Underage Co-ordinator Pat Duffy outlined some of the amendments which are being considered for the 2017 season and will report back to the clubs when the feedback has been reviewed.

Leave the lights on for worthwhile League

The Late Nite League programme returned with great excitement with the Regional Finals in Greenhills, Tallaght, where there was plenty of quality on show.

Each year sees the FAI partner with Garda, local authorities, Department of Youth & Children’s Affairs, and Sport Ireland to deliver the worthwhile programme that does fantastic work to tackle anti-social behaviour in disadvantaged areas during the months of October, November and December.

Now into its eighth year, the Late Nite Leagues caters for close to 2,000 players between the ages of 13 and 19 in 47 different centres around the country. At the Regional Finals – sponsored by Irish Public Bodies Insurance – Deputy Mayor of South Dublin, Martina Genockey was able to see how beneficial the programme can be to communities.

While there is a competitive edge to the Leagues, there are also rewards for the Most Sporting Teams and players can win tickets to Republic of Ireland games at Aviva Stadium. But the real goal is providing a platform for youth players to play football during anti-social hours and it continues to be popular for that very reason.

For further information on Late Nite Leagues contact

Making an impact in communities

Connecting with communities through football is something that the late Noel O’Reilly often preached about. So it is fitting that a League in North East inner city Dublin has been created in his name.

Through the Erasmus+ scheme, the FAI has been able to work closely with six identified groups, where there is as much effort that goes into learning off the pitch as there is with scoring a goal on it. And that is how former FAI Coach Education chief O’Reilly would have wanted it.

The initiative, thanks largely to the work of FAI Football Development Officer Tommy Carberry, has allowed the participants to learn the value of positive community actions, fair play, preparation, and instilling a code of conduct.

The results have been clear to see with the project – which is now in its fourth year – gaining in popularity and people talking about how the Noel O’Reilly League has had such a positive impact on the local community.

Host a FAI Summer Soccer School camp at your club

The summer sun may be one way to get kids out to play. Another would be hosting an FAI Summer Soccer Schools camp, where your club would be guaranteed lots of smiling faces and time spent on player development.

2016 was yet another record breaking year for our Summer Soccer Schools programme. With over 31,000 participants at 350 camps nationwide, our clubs benefitted greatly with over €800,000 paid out from the FAI to you, our clubs!

So, what are the benefits of hosting an official FAI Summer Soccer School camp?
1. Generate extra revenue for your club
2. Opportunity to recruit new young players for your club
3. Increase your club engagement with local community, parents and players during the summer months
4. Full booking system and customer service team managed by FAI
5. Support from FAI in marketing and promoting your camp using our Summer Soccer School brand

How can we apply to host? For further information on hosting a Summer Soccer School camp in 2017 please contact Pearl Slattery at

Leinster triumph in FFA Inter-Provincial Cup

Leinster overcame Munster to win the inaugural Tetrarch Hospitality Football For All Inter-Provincial Cup in Evergreen, Kilkenny.

The game marked Tetrarch Hospitality’s first major event as part of their new partnership with the FAI’s Football For All programme with the best of the FFA players from Leinster and Munster competing over 90 minutes in a competitive game.

Leinster broke the deadlock within the first 20 minutes with a goal from Cian Fitzpatrick. Munster did not let this affect them and pushed hard for the equaliser and got their just reward on 30 minutes when Jamie McStay sent in a swerving corner kick that deceived the Leinster goalkeeper and dropped into the goal.

At 1-1, the game continued at a fast pace with both sides having chances but both keepers made some good saves. On 50 minutes, Leinster again took the lead with a great run from Jack Curran down the left with him cutting into the penalty box and driving a low shot beyond the Munster keeper.

Munster responded with a couple of near misses over the next 10 minutes but in the final 20 minutes Leinster showed their class with three quick goals in 15 minutes from Leinster’s players of the game Curran and Fitzpatrick, who claimed his hat-trick with two more goals before the final whistle.

Leinster Squad: James Hogan, John Fitzsimons, Jamie Bradshaw, Ciaran Boggans, Sean O’Dalaigh, Adam Murphy, Mark Lonergan, Shane Kavanagh, Michael Kelleher, Mark Hennigan, Scott Mates, Daniel Walsh, Cillian Keating, Sean McManus, Jack Curran, Dylan Steele, Dylan Hanson, Cian Fitzpatrick

Munster Squad: Sean Shannon, Jack Hogan, John Jordan, Dylan Butler, Jack Hickey, Jack O’Keefe, Dion Kennedy, Cian Cotter, Matthew Collins, Daniel Carey Power, Keith Begley, Darragh Leahy, Cormac Hanley, Daniel Kelly, Michael O’Donovan, Jamie McStay, Conor Cummins, Morgan O’Neil, Jon Foxseang, Jonathan Healy

Fancy a career in sport? IT Carlow can help

IT Carlow has a proven track record of helping students to forge successful careers in the sports industry. Now, with the CAO Application open for two courses, it is time to take a closer look.

The programmes are three year Level 7 BA in Sports Coaching & Business Management (Soccer) and four year Level 8 Sport Management and Coaching which is delivered by the Institute of Technology Carlow in association with the FAI. The aim of the programme is to provide an academic qualification that combines Coaching, Fitness and Player Development with a broad based business curriculum relevant to the development of the sport.

The programme will provide competencies and skills in such areas as Player Development and Coaching. The programme will give an understanding of the cross-functional nature of the business/sport environment and will develop in students a multitude of transferable business and communication skills. Graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to seek relevant employment in sports related business environments.

Potential Career Paths include: FAI Third Level Football Facilitator, FAI Development Officer, FAI Administration, Sports Management, Club Development, Coaching/Fitness and the business of sport.

Graduates have been employed in the following areas…
• Youth Academy Coach
• Youth Development Officer
• Sports programme Co-ordinator
• Performance Analyst
• Education Tutor (VEC)
• Self Employed
• Defense Forces

For further infromation on the two courses click on the links below:
– Sports Coaching and Business management
– Sports Management and Coaching

Finglas coaches kickstart their learning

With 23 coaches from various clubs in Finglas, Dublin involved, the PDP/KS1 coaching course in Leisure Point Sports Centre went down a treat.

The course was delivered by FAI Football Development Officers Paul Whelan and Jamie Wilson, and was partially funded by the local area partnership through their Social Inclusion Programme.

John Fox, Finglas United, was hugely important in his administration duties and he pulled the whole course together. He provided the venue as well as lunch and snacks free of charge. All of the coaches from the six Finglas clubs expressed a keen desire to further their coaching qualifications. Future courses have been arranged for the first quarter of 2017.

“I would like to thank Paul and Jamie for their assistance with the course. It went extremely well according to both the coaches and the participants – I have also spoken directly to a couple of our club coaches that attended and they can’t wait to progress onto the next level following this course,” said Fox.

Shelbourne Ladies end season as double champions

Quality came to the fore in the Continental Tyres Women’s National League as Shelbourne Ladies secured their first ever title.

The Dublin club, who were created following a merger with Raheny United, pushed Wexford Youths close last season but they were the uncatchable team this term as they sealed the League win with one game to go.

The League triumph followed on from their recent Continental FAI Women’s Cup victory over Wexford in the Aviva Stadium to ensure that they completed the domestic double – just like Wexford had done a few months previous.

Huge credit should go to Shelbourne for their style of play and introduction of new stars like Lynn Craven, Alex Kavanagh and Leanne Kiernan, and they will look to build on their core as they enter into the UEFA Women’s Champions League qualifiers next year.

It was another productive campaign for the development of women’s football ahead of the season switching to a single calendar structure in 2017.

FAI issues support on Child Protection & Welfare issues

The Football Association of Ireland would like to reiterate its support, through various avenues, on Child Protection and Welfare issues following allegations of child abuse in football in the United Kingdom.

The FAI treats all Child Protection and Welfare issues with the highest priority. The Association is working with ISPCC, the national child protection charity, and has worked closely with several organisations, including Barnardo’s ( and One-In-Four (

The FAI would like to remind all member clubs, leagues and stakeholders that they have a responsibility to comply with the statutory regulations laid out in National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 to ensure all adults working with children have received Garda vetting.

In accordance with the FAI Child Welfare Policy and Children First National Guidance, members of the FAI who are advised, suspect or are concerned that a child may be at risk of abuse are obliged to report these concerns to TUSLA ( and the relevant Designated Child Officer of their Affiliated Member body.

In the event of an emergency where a child is believed to be in immediate danger, the Statutory Authorities should be alerted as a matter of urgency. This may be done through any Garda station. All child abuse investigations will be dealt with by the Statutory Authorities, with the support of the FAI.

Below are a number of organisations which can help with various issues:

Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children ISPCC Childline
National 24-hour service for children and young people up to the age of 18.
Freephone: 1800 66 66 66
Text Talk to: 50101

Rape Crisis Centre
National 24-hour confidential helpline for women and men who have been raped, sexually assaulted, sexually harassed or sexually abused at any time in their lives.
Freephone: 1800 77 88 88

One in Four
Professionally supports men and women who have experienced sexual abuse during childhood.
Phone: 01 662 4070 (Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 17:30)

An additional service to the HSE’s National Counselling Service which provides free face-to-face counselling for people who have suffered abuse, trauma or neglect in their childhood.
Freephone: 1800 477 477

National 24-hour helpline which offers confidential, non-judgemental support.
Freephone: 116 123

PFA Ireland
Support for all professional and semi-professional footballers playing in the SSE Airtricity League.

FAI Child Welfare Department
Dedicated staff dealing with various issues surrounding Child Welfare and Safeguarding.

2016…it was a very good year for Irish football

From Robbie Brady’s header in Lille to Orla Casey’s sweet finish in Turner’s Cross, it has been a very good year for Republic of Ireland teams at international level.

Having secured qualification for UEFA EURO 2016, Martin O’Neill’s men’s senior team started their preparations with friendlies against Switzerland, Slovakia, Netherlands and Belarus. Then they travelled to France, where they drew with Sweden, lost to Belgium, beat Italy, and were ultimately knocked out by the host nation.

It was a memorable summer for the Ireland team with many new star players emerging and it acted as a catalyst for other international teams to pick up noteworthy results. However, Sharon Boyle’s Under 16 Girls had already won the UEFA Development Tournament in Hungary so they were early starters.

When the 2016/17 season kicked off there were many notable results as Tom Mohan’s Under 19s men’s, Colin O’Brien’s Under 17s men’s, Dave Connell’s Under 19s women’s and Dave Bell’s Under 17 women’s all qualified for the Elite Qualifying Round – three of them as group winners.

Also in competitive action were Barry Ferguson’s CP team who performed admirably at the RIO Paralympics and Thomas Morgan’s Irish Homeless team who finished as Plate Winners at the Homless World Cup in Scotland. Another team to triumph in Scotland were Paul Osam’s Under 16 Boys in the Victory Shield.

There was little luck for the Women’s senior team and the Under 21s men’s team, but the men’s senior team helped see out the year on a high by jumping to the top of their group in FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifying following wins over Georgia, Moldova and Austria, plus a draw away to Serbia.

A huge amount of credit should be reserved for you – our clubs – for producing these players. Without the coaching, guidance and assistance that young players get at club level, reaching the international stage is almost an impossible task. Thankfully, though, our clubs – around the country – have done a fantastic job in developing the stars of tomorrow.

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Author: Jonathan
I'm the Leagues PRO. You will often meet me Pitchside with my camera getting photos for our site and social networks.

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