Six of Killavilla’s rising girl stars move onto the League of Ireland

Killavilla United could become one of the leading nurseries for girls’ football in the country in the next few years. This is because the Roscrea club has seen no fewer than six of its youth players move on to the Under 17 League of Ireland ahead of the new season which will get underway when restrictions are eased.

By Shane Brophy

Three players, Kelsey Wing, Hannah O’Brien and Ceola Bergin have joined Treaty United in Limerick, while Nicole Brooks and Ellie Feehan have gone north to Athlone Town for the next stage in their development, while Cayla Fletcher has moved to the country’s leading women’s club, Peamount United.

It is a remarkable number of players to move on from a club in one year with Killavilla United coach Brian Brooks adding there is another bunch of players coming behind them that have the capability of moving onto a higher level as well.

“This is what we always wanted to do,” he said of seeing players move on to League of Ireland level, and possibly beyond.

“We wanted to get them into the League of Ireland with the chance of getting a soccer scholarship which at least they would get something out of for all their hard work.”

Killavilla United have been to the fore in girls’ soccer in North Tipperary in recent years with age group the six girls came out of losing just a handful of games in the last two seasons. Kelsey Wing and Ceola Bergin, were part of the Roscrea team who won the Community Games Under 15 All-Ireland title in 2019, while Bergin along with Cayla Fletcher were on another All-Ireland winning Community Games team two years previous.

“There’s a good set-up” added Brooks (father of Nicole) as to why girls’ soccer in the club has been thriving.

“You have six girls gone but for the rest of the girls it is going to be very easy to motivate them, not that they need much motivating anyway.

“In the last four years there is a massive amount of girls having fallen in with Killavilla United. Everything is done right, and girls are looked after in terms of goalkeeping coaches, strength & conditioning coaches. Ceola Bergin’s mother (Genevieve Rowland) would be involved with Templemore Athletics so she would do strength & conditioning for us, and Seamus Feehan (Ellie’s dad) is the goalkeeping coach.”

Their level of success has seen girls join the club, not only from Roscrea, but from areas around North Tipperary, including Borrisokane, Silvermines and Toomevara.

Indeed, the number of juvenile girls in the club is now closing in with that of the boys, indicating the growth there is in the women’s game, matching that of its development around the country.

“Girls that maybe on the fence about joining clubs might come to Killavilla now and see what way girls can progress,” added Brian Brooks who trains all five of the underage girls teams in the club, along with Paul Kirwan, while he and Seamus Feehan also took charge of the NTSFL Under 15 girls last year.

The club are hoping to further develop their women’s section in the next few years by having an adult team in the Tipperary League for the first time but as Brian Brooks put it, if they keep seeing young players move on to a higher level, it might be difficult to field a team, but that would be a good problem to have.

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