IT Sligo have extended the sports scholarships that were available to the senior men’s teams over the last two years to their female equivalents, marking a groundbreaking day for football in the Northwest Region.
The plans bestow the opportunity for applicants to play at Senior level for Sligo Rovers, with the aspiration for the club to put forward an SSE Airtricity Women’s National League squad next season.
This builds on the Bit O Red’s U17 WNL unit which was initiated in 2018 and also their U19 set up that followed.
Exciting stuff here for The Rovers 👏@sligorovers looking to establish a Senior @LoiWomen ‘s National league team by the 2022 season, building on their existing Under 17 and Under 19 outfits 🔴⚪️
🤩Can’t wait to see the #BitORed in the #WNL @itsligo @BitORedTrust https://t.co/JCzpNhGhar
— Alanna Cunnane (@acunnane10) September 7, 2021
Speaking on the announcement Chairperson Tommy Higgins talks of the “big step for women’s football in the Northwest region.”
“We are delighted to enhance our partnership with IT Sligo which has seen us create scholarships for our players over the last two years” he says.
“Women’s football is something we are passionate about and we want to add to our existing Under 17 and Under 19 teams and incorporate a Senior team to compete in the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League.”
“We hope it gives female footballers in the region something to work towards both educationally and in sporting terms.’’
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Registrar of IT Sligo Dr Michele Glacken also had his say on the matter, commenting on the exceptional move towards “a level playing field” in sporting terms as well as academically.
Great to hear the exciting news of senior women’s football coming to the NW. Well done to @sligorovers and @itsligo @ITSligoFootball . This is a video we put together a few months ago in support of women at all levels of the game #hergametoo 🔴⚪️ https://t.co/H1kPJg57Gb
— BORST (@BitORedTrust) September 7, 2021
“IT Sligo is delighted to support the development of a Women’s National League team for the North West region” he says.
“This partnership builds on our current successful Scholarship programme with Sligo Rovers, and offers equal opportunities for female soccer players to succeed in their sporting and academic pursuits.”
“As an Institute, our aim is to help attract and retain talent in the region. By supporting this initiative, we are helping provide a level playing field for girls, ensuring they don’t have to compromise when it comes to furthering their education and pursuing their sporting careers.”
With a masterplan released in May of this year and the academy appointment of former player Conor O’Grady on a full-time employment basis approaching the one year anniversary, the club no doubt have a vision in mind for the future, the development of its’ women’s division to the fore.
U17 Women’s coach, ex Irish international and native of the county Emma Hansberry echoed such sentiment in her remarks which she sees as “great news for all female footballers in this region.”
“Coming from Sligo, there was always massive potential in the area and the North West region in general but there was no pathway or women’s senior team to look towards” she says.
“This is something that has been missing and now with the partnership between Rovers and IT Sligo it will enhance the women’s game all over the North West.”
“The current group of players within the club are very excited and I know all female footballers in the region will be too’’.
The additional places from the third level institute are available from today and look beyond the CAO offers that came out on Tuesday.