Belfast Telegraph

New Women's Academy league aiming to help Northern Ireland's young talent reach international level

Pictured at the launch of the Electric Ireland Academy League are (L-R): Genna Brown Linfield Ladies FC; Anne Smyth, Electric Ireland; Danielle Maxwell, Glentoran Women Reserves; Rachel McLaren, Crusaders Strikers; Steven Mills, Northern Ireland Football League; and Eirinn Canavan, Cliftonville.
Pictured at the launch of the Electric Ireland Academy League are (L-R): Genna Brown Linfield Ladies FC; Anne Smyth, Electric Ireland; Danielle Maxwell, Glentoran Women Reserves; Rachel McLaren, Crusaders Strikers; Steven Mills, Northern Ireland Football League; and Eirinn Canavan, Cliftonville.
Pictured at the launch of the Electric Ireland Academy League are (L-R): Eirinn Canavan, Cliftonville; Rachel McLaren, Crusaders Strikers; Danielle Maxwell, Glentoran Women Reserves; and Genna Brown Linfield Ladies FC.

A brand new Electric Ireland Women's Academy League will aim to provide a pathway to international football for Northern Ireland's top young talents.

The NI Football League has announced the launch of a new six-team division for Under 19 players to step towards to the Danske Bank Women's Premiership.

The teams involved in the inaugral season will be Cliftonville Corinthians, Crusaders Strikers U19, Derry City Ladies U19, Glentoran Women Reserves, Linfield Ladies Swifts and Sion Swifts Ladies U19.

Those sides will play each other twice across the campaign, which begins on Friday (May 31).

Andrew Johnston, Managing Director of NI Football League said: “We’ve seen remarkable growth in the women’s game in recent seasons and our thanks must go to Electric Ireland for supporting our vision to further develop this important strand of football with the new Women’s Academy League.

“Last season there were 17 full international players playing in the Women’s Premiership, we hope that by increasing the focus on youth development, we can provide the pathway the next generation of international stars and continue to improve competitiveness of the league.”

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Pictured at the launch of the Electric Ireland Academy League are (L-R): Eirinn Canavan, Cliftonville; Rachel McLaren, Crusaders Strikers; Danielle Maxwell, Glentoran Women Reserves; and Genna Brown Linfield Ladies FC.

Anne Smyth, Northern Ireland Sponsorship and PR, Electric Ireland added: “The extension of Electric Ireland’s sponsorship of women’s football to include this new league clearly demonstrates our commitment to supporting the development of the women’s game at all levels. Our partnership with the Irish FA in women’s football has already proven that it is making a huge contribution to the women’s game with a continued rise in participation, the new Electric Ireland Academy League proves that we are determined in our objective to enable the talent of the future to be true game changers.”

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The new league will benefit from Electric Ireland Game Changers campaign, which includes initiatives with the Irish FA such as Shooting Stars the Electric Ireland Excellence Programmes, which aims to change the landscape of female sport in Northern Ireland and encourage participation and elite opportunities for local players. The initiatives are helping sow the seeds of future success and creating an environment in which female sporting achievements are nurtured and celebrated at every age throughout a player’s development.

The Electric Ireland Women’s Academy League kicks off on Friday 31 May with the first game week of fixtures which includes; Linfield Ladies Swifts v Derry City Ladies U19, Sion Swifts Ladies U19 v Crusaders Strikers U19 and Glentoran Women Reserves v Cliftonville Corinthians

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