‘Be happy’ formula aims to get young girls involved in sport

A pilot project, entitled SHE (Sport, Happiness and Education) is promoting young girls in sport and is headed up by former Galway United boss Don O'Riordan. Photo shows girls going through the obstacle course under the supervision of coach Rachel Moloney.
A pilot project, entitled SHE (Sport, Happiness and Education) is promoting young girls in sport and is headed up by former Galway United boss Don O'Riordan. Photo shows girls going through the obstacle course under the supervision of coach Rachel Moloney.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

A new pilot scheme which seeks to arrest the slide of young girls dropping out of sport by promoting ‘happiness and education’ commenced in Galway City this week under the supervision of former Galway United and Galway WFC manager, Don O’Riordan.

A strong advocate in supporting women in sport, the aim of the venture entitled SHE – Sport, Happiness & Education – is to provide an opportunity for young girls between the ages of five and 11 years of age to train in a happy environment while improving their fitness, speed and even diet.

This is done by turning the session into “a big playground” and a case in point was when O’Riordan and his coaches – Cathy Cullinane and Rachel Moloney – introduced the hula hoop and skipping rope at the first session in Merlin Woods last Monday. For the majority of children, it was their first time to experience these activities.

“Frighteningly, most of the girls couldn’t do it,” says O’Riordan. “I suppose, it is just this day and age where we have kids who don’t want to go outside after school. Instead, they go on the computer. They play on their X-Boxes or they play on their iPads or their iPhones and the days of climbing trees are gone.

“So, we introduced them to the hula hoop and the skipping rope yesterday (Monday). They may not have done it in the past but it is something that we feel they can practice at home and improve on as we go forward.”

Indeed, as the children and their parents left on Monday, O’Riordan was urging the parents to encourage their children to continue with these activities in their free time. The parents had conceded it was something they had not thought of teaching their daughters.

“What we are trying to do is give young girls from the ages of five to 11 a stage where they can come and train and enjoy themselves while also trying to improve their fitness, speed, agility, which is something that we feel is lacking hugely from ordinary kids’ daily lives.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.