FOOTBALL: New girls’ league for Under-17 teams

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The Irish Football Association has teamed up with the Northern Ireland Women’s Football Association to organise a new Under-17 National League for girls. And Carrick Rangers Ladies and Carnmoney Ladies are among the teams taking part.

In a project funded by FIFA, the league will give girls from across Northern Ireland an opportunity to be involved in football over the winter period.

With the winter months usually being the off-season in NIWFA senior football, it will help give girls in this critical age group an opportunity to stay involved in the game.

The Under-17 league runs from now until the end of February with all matches being played on Friday evenings at Marrowbone Oldpark in north Belfast and Valley Leisure Centre in Newtownabbey.

The league consists of eight teams - Bangor Ladies, Carnmoney Ladies, Lisburn Ladies, St Oliver Plunkett, Portadown Integrated Ladies, Foyle Belles, Carrick Rangers Ladies and Crusaders Strikers - and all matches will be 11-a-side.

The Irish FA Women’s Domestic Football Manager Sara Booth said: “We have worked hard since the launch of the IFA Girls’ and Women’s Football Plan in 2014 to put the structures in place to create the opportunity for more girls and women to play football.

“This new league is an important addition to the player pathway for girls and women and we are extremely grateful to FIFA for providing the funding to make it possible.”