Fota Backing Girls in Football

The 2018 Fota Island Resort FAI Gaynor Tournament was launched yesterday at Limerick County Buildings.  Soccer is proving a go-to sport for the hotel sector with Maldron Hotels signing up as an FAI partner this week and Tetrarch Hospitality with Mount Juliet, Citywest, the Marker and Killashee Hotels, supporting the Football for All programme.

The tournament will take place in the University of Limerick from Thursday, June 21 through to Sunday, June 24, and will see the best girls from around the country represent their league at Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 levels.

Following a qualification stage, which involved 62 teams, 34 teams will compete at the tournament over the four days of competition.

The Fota Island Resort FAI Gaynor Tournament has been hugely influential in the development of female footballers with many of the current Republic of Ireland Women’s teams made up of past participants.

“The Gaynor Tournament is a crucial step along the elite player pathway and we’re always looking to improve that process each year.,” said Dave Connell, FAI Head of Women’s Underage Development and U19’s Head Coach.

“We introduced a qualification stage to help refine and progress that pathway, and we’ll have 34 teams participating in the finals tournament this year.”

“The change is to facilitate the elite players who we are trying to get on a pathway that starts with the Aviva Soccer Sisters camps and continues with the Castleknock Hotel Girls Centre of Excellence before the Fota Island Resort Gaynor Tournament.”

“This is about the player’s development and we want to make the Gaynor Cup an elite competition for their benefit. By playing against the best players, those aspiring to get selected for Republic of Ireland squads or make the Women’s National League will be in a far better position.”

“For example, Isibeal Atkinson was part of the Metropolitan Girls League side which won the U16 Cup last year and now, she’s been selected in each Women’s National Team squad since November. It is a huge sign of progress in Women’s football and the elite player pathway.”

Fota Island Resort – one of Europe’s five-star luxury resorts based in County Cork – has continued their title sponsorship of the tournament and helps bring a greater spotlight to the tournament.

“The Gaynor Tournament remains one of the best tournaments to aid the development of female footballers in this country,” added Sue Ronan, Head of Women’s Football.

“A lot of credit must go to Niamh O’Donoghue, Dave Connell, members of the WFC and the many volunteers who have helped the tournament to grow from strength to strength.”

“When you have a competition that produces the likes of Stephanie Roche and Katie McCabe, established Republic of Ireland senior internationals, then you know it is something special. The Gaynor Tournament plays a big role in the development of women’s football, which is incredibly important to the Association and is one of the nine pillars in our Strategic Plan for 2020.”

“We’d also like to thank Fota Island Resort for their continued support as title sponsor as it allows the tournament to grow even more and further strengthen its reputation.”

“We’re proud to continue our sponsorship of the Fota Island Resort Gaynor Tournament,” concluded Seamus Leahy, Director of Marketing at Fota Island Resort.

“It was a fantastic tournament last year and to see Women’s football progress to new heights in Ireland over recent years is fantastic to see.

“With the participation in the sport continuing to grow, we’re delighted to support the sport at both a grass-roots and elite level. We were incredibly proud to host the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team for a training camp in February and we look forward to continue to look for ways to support and encourage girls and women to get involved in football.”


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Image Credit: Sportsfile Photography

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