The newly formed women’s soccer teams in Arlington and Abbeyleix will make their débuts in the CCFL Women’s Division this weekend.
They will play alongside champions Mullingar Athletic, Tullamore, Killeigh and Clara Town. It was hoped that Portlaoise and Mountmellick, who both played in the summer league in the Kildare and District Football League, would also be able to join up to bring the number of Laois clubs to four but that will not happen this year. However, CCFL Chairman, Jim Kelly, is hopeful that might happen next year.
“We were hoping that we might get two more between Mountmellick and Portlaoise which would have been unbelievable if we had the four teams but who knows, maybe next year we will. ”
Peter Lawlor will manage the Arlington side and he is hoping that the team will grow during the season.
“For year one, it’s to get as many girls as possible involved playing the game. There are no great expectations. Every game will be a bonus and we’ll see how it goes. We have a big catchment area in Portarlington stretching from Cloneygowan to Bracknagh, nearly into Monasterevin and out to Emo so we’re hoping to gather in girls from that area and give them all a game.
“We have the nucleus of St Conleth’s girls and we have a few new girls coming through as well. The whole thing is to get a Senior team started up and then progress the underage. That would be the plan.”
While new to the CCFL, the Abbeyleix team have experience playing in the Kilkenny Football League as player Ciara Byrne explains.
“We were actually playing in Ballacolla last year and we just didn’t have enough dedication so we said we’d try in Abbeyleix because there was already a team set up there with the men and the youths and it worked for us. Most of the girls who were playing in Ballacolla, came from Abbeyleix.”
Both teams will be hoping to hit the ground running this weekend when they go head to head in their opening game.