Carrickfergus pupil praises inspirational aunt as she eyes European qualifiers

A Carrickfergus Grammar School pupil has hailed the influence of her football coach aunt as she continues her own rise in the beautiful game.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 6:00 pm

Abby Redmond plays for Northern Ireland U19 and Crusaders Strikers in the Women’s Premier League.

She is also a qualified football coach and niece of Gail Redmond, Irish FA Foundation Women’s Development manager.

Abby, a year 13 pupil, said: “I currently play for Crusaders Strikers first team. This is my second season playing and I am the youngest player on the team at just 17.

Northern Ireland U19 player Abby Redmond at Carrickfergus Grammar School.
Northern Ireland U19 player Abby Redmond at Carrickfergus Grammar School.

“I started playing football when I was five years old, at an organisation called First Kicks. When I was eight, I moved to play club football, which was Crusaders. I have played my entire football career here apart from one season when I was 14 in which I moved to Glentoran to play under 19 football.

“Alongside club, I was invited to trial for Country Antrim and started playing county football when I was 11. From this, I was successful at trials for Northern Ireland and started playing for Northern Ireland at that age group. Now I am playing with Northern Ireland under 19s and at the moment we are preparing for the European qualifiers in October.”

By Abby’s own admission the challenge ahead is a tough one as the group also contains Switzerland, England and the Republic of Ireland.

She added: “I am constantly working and training every day to hopefully be selected for the squad however, recently I have an ankle injury. Playing with Northern Ireland has given me the opportunity to play around the world. I have travelled to places such as Sweden when I was 13 to play against teams like Español and PSG. Also, to the Bob Doherty Cup here in Northern Ireland in which I played against England, Scotland and Wales, and to Scotland for the Under 17 European qualifiers to play against countries such as Italy.

Gail Redmond, IFA Women's Domestic Football manager. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

“The person who inspired me to play football was my Auntie Gail. She played for the Northern Ireland senior team, Glentoran and other teams in America. I always aspired to be better than my auntie and so every day that pushes me forward. She is now a fantastic coach and head of women’s football in Northern Ireland. Each time I get out on the pitch I want to make her proud and prove that I can be the best. I am very blessed to have such a fantastic coach in my family who has helped me to improve especially over this lockdown period.”

I love football with all my heart, I love the ups and downs. The thrills and lows, how football can make you feel so much in just one game.”

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