Female Sport on the Up
125 young girls from five schools across Belfast have come together at Queens Sports Complex to enjoy the best female sport has to offer. The multi sport event which was organised by the governing bodies involved and was supported by Sport NI, Belfast City Council and Active Belfast, is the first of its kind to take place in the city. To mark the event Minister for Sport Carál Ní Chuilín and Lord Mayor Niall O’Donnghaile were in attendance to get the ball rolling.
The event was the first initiative undertaken as a result of a unique collaboration of governing bodies of sport involving Ulster Hockey, Ulster Camogie, Ulster Ladies Gaelic, Ulster Rugby and the Irish Football Association. These sporting bodies make up a forum that aims to increase opportunities for women and girls to participate in sport as well as raising the profile of women and girls sport within the local media.
Speaking at the event the Minister for Sport said “Initiatives such as this one actively provide opportunities for girls to take part in sports they may never have tried before. I would encourage more women and girls to recognise there are many sports that they can and should be able to play and compete in.”
As well as participating in a variety of sports on the day the girls in attendance were also given the opportunity to get to know some of the stars of the various games from Ulster; Julie Nelson vice-captain of the Northern Ireland soccer team, Eilis Ní Chasaide Derry camogie player, Megan Frazer Ulster and Ireland hockey player, Gemma Begley Tyrone and All Star winning Ladies Gaelic player and Eliza Downey Ulster and Ireland rugby player. The inspiring role models took part in the coaching sessions as well as participating in a question and answer session which was hosted by Lynette Fay.
The Lord Mayor of Belfast Niall O’Donnghaile concluded by saying “This is a wonderful initiative, which I am delighted that the council has been able to support, and I commend all those involved for not only taking the lead in encouraging more girls to take up sport but also in highlighting the high level of success enjoyed by many of our very talented female sports stars, all of whom are excellent ambassadors for our city and this part of the world.”
The group responsible for this event plan to work together to organise similar initiatives across the province in the future to give even more females the opportunity to have a go and get involved in sport!