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18/10/2021

Granville Rangers schoolgirl teams going from strength to strength

Granville Rangers schoolgirl teams going from strength to strength

Granville Rangers U-11 Girls Team

LOCAL football in the city has always been a significant cornerstone of the sports scene in Limerick with both a massive following and participation rate which has served as a trademark of local communities that engage with their local football clubs.

If 15 years involvement with my local football club Granville Rangers has taught me anything, i's that football belongs to everyone and can be enjoyed by anyone. This is a perspective held by Granville Rangers since its establishment in 1975.

The Granville Park and St Patrick's Road community on the South East side of Limerick City during the late 1960s and early 1970s was awash with young, energetic children with a high demand for football.

The adult population of the community was dedicated to delivering football to the youth. It was the participation and eagerness of the youth, combined with the professionalism and dedication of the experienced, that gave way to the formation of Granville Rangers as a local football club for the community that solely consisted of schoolboy/schoolgirl teams.

The first of Granville's events came in the style of community games where all children of the community were encouraged to come along and get involved in football at grassroots level.

The success and participation of the youth in the area would lead to the first of Granville's schoolboy/schoolgirl teams entering the local leagues in 1978 where the club had teams competing from U-10s to U-14s level.

However, the demand for football in the area did not only exist among the young boys and girls, and in the interest of providing football to all who wanted to participate, Granville introduced their first Junior team to the Limerick Leagues in 1986.

Both underage and junior sides enjoyed early success, but this wouldn't have been possible without the participation of a wide cohort of the community all pulling in the same direction.

The establishment and progression of Granville Rangers as a club was a perfect blend of the young and mature combined along with the immeasurable role that women had played in the club's development.

Particularly in the early days, Granville had no shortage of inspirational women who went above and beyond for the club. The female involvement in Granville filled a wide range of responsibilities through players, management, organisation, committee level and almost any role you can associate with a football club.

As time moved on, so to would Granville into a modern era of local football upgrading to new facilities in Glenbrook in 2004 and immersing itself in a new upcoming community a stone throw from the club's original home.

Though this was an era of high promise and prosperity, it would also present its own challenges to the club. Female involvement in the club would decline coming towards the end of the 2000s and Granville would struggle to recruit girls and women over the course of the next decade.

Upon revival of the club in 2018 after a closure scare, a new committee took the helm at Granville, and put an extra emphasis on reintroducing girls football back into the club. This would prove a challenging task, but to give girls an opportunity to be involved in football was a central objective of this committee.

This year, the committee appointed Chris Browne as the head coach of Granville's underage girls structure. Chris comes with an abundance of knowledge of girls football with his impressive involvement in Limerick Belles, an all girls football club.

Already the club has seen the early success of our girls structure, which has began to give the opportunity to girls to come down and play football with other girls at the same age and allow them to develop an understanding and a passion for the game we love.

When we see how much the girls enjoy and immerse themselves in football, it makes all the challenges worth while and gives us the motivation to develop and progress girls football in our club.

While our girls structure is steadily progressing, we are determined to introduce more girls into our club and give them a safe and supportive environment to progress, develop, and enjoy football.

Any girls born between 2010 – 2013 are welcome and strongly encouraged to come along to girls training every Wednesday evening 7:30pm in Glenbrook. We are looking forward to working with our next generation of inspirational Granville Women.

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