Women’s soccer officials Donegal could explore the possibility of forming a team to enter the Women’s National League in the coming years.
Recent weeks has seen a deluge of players leave both the Donegal Women’s League and Inishowen Women’s League.
Some top players have recently departed and Bríd McGinty, the outgoing Donegal Women’s League Secretary, says measures, such as going down the WNL route, may yet have to be considered.
“The players have easy access to move, but we should be trying to keep them this side of the border to get a status and a pathway for national league,” McGinty, who had to vacate the secretary’s role tonight due to her role in the WFAI.
“We have to get to a higher standard.”
“We aren’t giving them that pathway in the North-West. We need to develop that pathway in the North-West or in Donegal at least.
“Otherwise, when a player gets to 15 or 16, theyt’re going to leave and that’s not nice for the people in our League who are doing so much work in the clubs to develop players.
“We have only four teams in our senior league and we don’t have that pathway – we have to get to a higher standard.”
Officials are hopeful of some new teams to breathe life into the Donegal Women’s League, tonight’s annual general meeting was told.
The 2016 Donegal Women’s League had just four teams at senior level – Lagan Harps, Bonagee United, Finn Valley and Glenree United – but the League’s executive is confident that their numbers will increase.
The Lagan Harps clubwoman retained a role on the executive, as she continues as the joint treasurer alongside Tina Quigley.
Ms McGinty added: “Our underage structure is very strong with a lot of teams and a lot of players. We are struggling big time at senior level. We only had four teams last year. It looks like four or five this year again with two more coming in. Hopefully we might get it up to six teams.
“I’d like to see us entice more teams in. At our last executive meeting we said that we’d email all the Donegal League clubs and invite them.”
Also in her report, she thanked the League’s sponsors as well as the various team managers and referes for their assistance throughout the season, while she congratulatd the Donegal Women’s League players who had been capped at international level in 2016,
Jonny Baird takes over as the new secretary of the Donegal Women’s League for 2017. He said: “We have got a lot of negatives about players leaving the League and it has been a wee bit too much – but we have a lot more positives than negatives.”
Women’s League Chairman Dessie Kelly paid tribute to the outgoing secretary, saying: “She carries out the job with real distinction and she has a huge input into organisng teams at club and inter-league level.
“Everything revolves around her, from meetings, to transport and anything for the progress of the women’s game. Where would we be without Brid?”
Mr Kelly heaped praised on those volunteers who run teams in all sections of the Women’s League: “Team managers do a great job throughout the season. It’s a tough task, but they deserve great credit. They really do a terrific job. The work they do can’t be evaluated.”
A total of 483 players, including 61 seniors, in 13 teams were registered in the Donegal Women’s League in 2016 – an increase of 48 players from 2015.
The new Donegal Women’s League season is expected to start in April, with a May date likely for the 2017 senior season.
DONEGAL WOMEN’S LEAGUE, 2017 COMMITTEE
Chairperson – Dessie Kelly
Vice Chairperson – Paula Irwin
Secretary – Jonny Baird
Assistant Secretary – Terry Leyden
Treasurers – Brid McGinty and Tina Quigley
Registrar – Paula Irwin
PRO – Chris McNulty
Children’s Officer – Sarah Heron
Referee Appointments Officer – Con McLaughlin
WFC Rep: Paula Irwin, Jonny Baird