Playing the Beautiful Game at a more leisurely pace

Katie Codyre (Galway Sports Partnership) and Nigel Keady (FAI Development Officer), both of whom are looking to spread the gospel about 'Walking Football', which is aimed at players over 50 years of age.
Katie Codyre (Galway Sports Partnership) and Nigel Keady (FAI Development Officer), both of whom are looking to spread the gospel about 'Walking Football', which is aimed at players over 50 years of age.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

A new craze may be about to grip the county, as ‘walking football’ – which is massive in Britain – becomes the focal point of open days to be jointly run by the FAI and Galway Sports Partnership in Mervue and Headford in the coming weeks.

For those of you not familiar with the concept – as Talking Sport was until last week – it is football played at walking pace. There is no running and, basically, it is aimed at players of an older age who still want to play the beautiful game but at a more leisurely pace.

As noted, in the UK, it is massive. Boasting over 800 walking football clubs, the UK has also drawn up its own official rulebook while competitions are run off in much the same manner as they are in the Galway & District League. Indeed, it has become so popular abroad, a World Cup has already been mooted.

Although, admittingly, the concept is not alien to Galway as Croí has been running a weekly session in the sport with a core group of people for over two years now, talk of competitions, leagues and World Cups is still a long way off in Galway. For now, it is just about generating interest.

Consequently, on Monday week, October 16, an open evening will be held on Moyne Villa’s Astro-turf in Headford between 7pm to 8pm; and a similar open day will take place at Mervue Community Centre at 2.30pm (registration at 2.15pm) the following day.

The target participants are those aged over 50, male and female, although FAI Coaching Development Officer Nigel Keady and Galway Sports Partnership Development Officer Katie Codyre – both of whom are spearheading the joint venture – insist this is just the demographic age rather than a rigourous screening process.

“It is not restrictive in any shape or form. We won’t be looking for birth certs, let’s put it that way,” chuckles Keady, whose role is also co-funded by Galway City Council. Codyre agrees.

“With the age thing,” she continues, “I know it is aimed at the over 50s but we got a message straight away after we posted about the open day to the Galway Sports Partnership Facebook page from a guy in his early 40s looking to do it. You are not going to turn away anyone like that. It is just to help target a certain population.”

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