Finn Harps Women 2023 Updates From Paddy McDaid

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It is 55 years since TT Harps were formed in 1968.  The team was set up by local women and was managed by Eddie McNulty.  First team boss Patsy McGowan was very supportive to the women’s team and arranged numerous matches for them at Finn Park.  Local women Tena Quigley, who played in this team recalls heading to Evergreen in Kilkenny for a game that resulted in 3 players getting International call-ups.  Namely, Teresa Holland, Geraldine Molloy and Josephine McHugh.

Roll on to 2023 and an exciting year lies ahead for women’s soccer in this county and this country.  Milford’s Amber Barrett’s now famous goal in Hampden Park, Glasgow will live long in the memory as the Women’s National Team qualified for the 2023 World Cup Finals in Australia for the first time ever.  Finn Harps FC is also delighted to see women’s teams enter the League of Ireland National League at Underage Level for the 2023 Season at the U17 and U19 age groups.  The girls recently participated in a coaching session with James Scott (Ireland U17 Manager) in the National Women’s Conference that took place in Donegal for the first time.

Girls Academy

With the Boys Academy growing from strength to strength under the expertise of Club Legend Kevin McHugh, the club did have some early Sunday sessions for girls under the guidance of Michael Doherty.  In 2020, Head of the Finn Harps Academy Kevin McHugh appointed Paddy McDaid as the Head of Women’s Development within the Club.  Letterkenny native McDaid was coaching the U15 Boys team in the National League at the time and was no stranger to girls football in Donegal were he worked with the Ulster Schools, The Donegal Women’s League and his local club Illistrin FC for many years.

Donegal Women’s League & Inishowen Women’s League Partnership

Numerous meetings were held with the Donegal Women’s League Executive to explore the idea of having National League Teams at Finn Harps and to develop a new Pathway for girls football in Donegal.  The Donegal Women’s League teams led by Brid McGinty had played successfully in the National League for 4 years previously and a ground-breaking partnership was agreed between the Donegal Women’s League, the Inishowen Women’s League and Finn Harps FC in the Autumn of 2022.  Fantastic work has gone on in the County in these Leagues in the past and Finn Harps FC were delighted to be in this new partnership.

Assessments and Coaches for the 2023 Season

On the 7th October, 2022 the first assessments took place at the Letterkenny Community Centre.  These would continue for numerous weeks before the final squads were selected for the 2023 season for both the U17 and U19 squads.

Paddy McDaid will take charge of the U19 Team and will be assisted by Dessie McGlinchey, who has been with the Boys Academy for many years, and the vastly experienced Nakita Burke.  The U17 Team will see Head Coach Patrick McGrenaghan from Inishowen assisted by Thomas Hughes and Chantelle Grant who have previously coached at Finn Harps.

League Commencement

On the 4th March, 2023 history will be made when the U17’s kick off Phase 1 of the new campaign with an away trip to Drogheda.  Shamrock Rovers, Peamount Utd and Shelbourne FC make up the rest of their group and they will play home and away matches.  The following day the U19’s will make the journey to play Peamount United in Dublin.  Bray Wanderers, Dundalk FC and Shelbourne FC are also in their group and they will also play home and away fixtures in Phase 1 of the League.

As described, we are expecting Women’s football to take off in 2023 and if you would like to sponsor one of our teams or players you can invest now by contacting [email protected]  and support the growth of Women’s football in 2023.

Finn Harps FC would like to wish all the players and coaches every success for the 2023 season in the National League.  The Club will soon be launching a Souvenir Programme that can be purchased to mark the inaugural season for underage women’s football at Finn Harps in the Women’s National League.