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History Beckons for Passage AFC Girls

History Beckons for Passage AFC Girls

Writes Ciaran Dineen

The entire community of Passage West is ‘going green for the under 18s’, as their local U18 women’s soccer team are on course to record what would be the greatest achievement in the club’s 47-year history.

The girls face Greencastle on February 17th at Home Farm, in the Final of the FAI National Cup and hope to garner as much support as possible for the tie. While the stars of the show will be on the pitch, the hard work done by their coaches, Tara Murphy and Tina Murphy, along with everyone else behind the scenes has created a fantastic atmosphere, built from the very core of the club.

With about 10 days to go until the big day, it’s fair to say that the team and management are raring to go. “The girls just can’t wait”, joint-manager Tara Murphy explains, “it’s the first time in 47 years that the club has reached a National Cup Final so it’s such a big thing. Some of the girls still can’t really believe what they’ve done and after the semi-final when they were back on the bus it dawned on them, “we’re in the final”. Passage will go into the decider in some fantastic form. On their journey to the upcoming clash against Greencastle, Passage have played some fantastic matches, beating Douglas Hall 4-1 in their first game, Aisling Annacotty 4-0 in the quarter-final and Askeaton 5-0 in the semi-final.

However, the success hasn’t just come overnight, with this end result being made possible following many months and even years of hard work and commitment. What has helped in this period is that the many of the girls have come up the youth ranks as one big group and as a result, their comradery and chemistry is second to none, as Tina claims. “About 16 of the 20 girls have all been together since U10s. It’s just so local and they all get on together and fight for one another, there’s a really great spirit.”

The relationship between Passage AFC and Passage GAA is a wonderful example of how groups within a community should interconnect, as both work together to ensure that all of their sports are made available to everyone at a practical and coherent level. The attention on the game has also created a wonderful link between the club and the people of Passage. The girls are thriving under this atmosphere according to Tina, “the whole town is just buzzing and it’s making the girls buzz. We’re decorating the town green and white, putting ads into local papers and radio stations, it’s all for the girls and they’re really just buzzing.” Local businesses have been eager to get on board, showing their support for the girls and the club. A few celebrities have also come out of the wood-work to back the team, with ‘The Young Offenders’ Shane Casey, ‘aka’ Billy Murphy and former Irish Olympian, Rob Heffernan, both sending on their best wishes.

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