Soccer is not for girls!

“I used to play with my brother when we were little but I started to play properly when I was a teenager. Playing football wasn’t a girly sport back then, but I loved it. When I got to secondary school I pulled a muscle playing with my friends and the next day I told my teacher that I couldn’t do PE because I injured myself. She asked me what happened? I told her that I played football, then she said, ‘Well that wasn’t very lady-like. Soccer is not for girls!’ That was the first one. I was a part of two all-girls football teams: Allstars and Green Angels and we had to face many obstacles just to be able to play. Back then not every group had their own playing field, our local field was in Phoenix Park but it was used by other teams as well. It happened all the time that we had to stop our match on the good pitch and move because the guys arrived. After a while, we refused to leave and once we resorted to singing We Shall Not Be Moved and we didn’t. Playing football as a girl taught me a lot about standing up for myself and not giving up. We played some international matches against France, Northern Ireland and Wales. When I was in my twenties three of us got an offer from a French team, one went but at sixteen I had to think of my job and income for my family. Sad to think that we played at such a high level but we never really got the recognition we deserved from the Football Association of Ireland. Still, when I pass the park and it’s just after a rainy day and you can smell the freshly-cut-grass it always makes me want to get the ball out and have a little kick about.”