Month: April 2015

Quick Interview #2 – Grace Kearney

[title size=”1″]Quick Interview #2 – Grace Kearney[/title]

When did you start Softball?

I started in the summer of 2010 in Cork. This would be my third season in the Leinster League.

Why Softball??

I had a very bad injury when I was playing rugby and was out of sports for over a year. In UCC one day, there was a recruitment drive for different sports teams and I used to play rounder’s for community games so I thought that this could be fun.

Have you played any other sports?

Yes. Lots. I competed in athletics for years underage. I represented Munster on the U19 Ladies Rugby team. I’ve played tag rugby, soccer, hockey, badminton, Gaelic football and tried a bit of Cricket. And not to mention Wii Tennis!

What club do you play for?

Currently I play with Renegades on the Prem Team Beachers.

Do you have any pre match routines?

Trying not to break speed limits as I rush out of school to make the journey from Limerick to Dublin in time for the first pitch!

When was your first international game?

In 2013, I was a member of the Irish Co-Ed team that traveled to the Czech Republic for the European Co-Ed Softball Championships.

How many caps do you have?

5 I think.

What can we do to continue to getting people interested in Softball?

For the last number of years I have introduced softball into schools. I have worked on getting the sport known and played at a younger age. I think it is really important to get students involved when they are in school and develop their skills and knowledge of the sport early. At present, I have the other PE teachers working with groups of students in the PE classes and we will be running a fun tournament before the end of the school year. In every school that I have taught softball, there has been positive responses from both the students and the teachers with some of the teachers joining the league on different teams.

It would be my goal to introduce softball as one of the sports included on the PE teacher’s curriculum in the different universities so that it can be added to the school academic curriculum as another option to rounder’s in the summer months. I think re developing the University Clubs and getting new members joined up would also encourage more players.

Are you sponsored?

I wish unless you can count the bank of Grace. Unfortunately we have to fundraise for all tournaments and pay for everything ourselves but I think that this makes us even more determined to work hard and play hard in order to achieve our goals.

What’s your international Goal?

Personally my international goal would be to play well for my country and to play my part in winning a team medal at the Europeans.

Who is your favourite female player?

My favourite female player is one that I had the honor to play with before she moved back to the US. Her name is Prudence Cathaway Kjontvedt and she is a two time All American in softball who was inducted into the CLU hall of fame in 2013. Not only was she an amazing player but she is also an amazing teacher and friend.

First up… Ciara O’Gorman

[title size=”1″]First up… Ciara O’Gorman[/title]

By way of introduction, over the summer months we are pulling together some short pieces around the Fastpicth & Slowpitch teams. Asking all players to fill out answers to the light hearted questions below. To kick it all off, we’ve started with Ciara O’Gorman and here’s what she had to say –

When did you start Softball?

I started back in 2012, this will be my 4th season playing.

Why Softball??

A girl I played badminton with mentioned she used to play and with my cricketing background I might enjoy it. So I Google’d softball and emailed the first club I found, fell in love with the game and that was it!

Have you played any other sports?

I’ve played cricket for nearly 16 years now, badminton for 6 and a bit of golf here and there!

What club do you play for?

I play for Kiely’s Kegs based in Ballsbridge

Do you have any pre match routines?

When you have an hour to get to games – running to the Dart/Bus is the pre-match warm up! 🙂

When was your first international game?

I represented an Irish development team at the World Series tournament in London in September 2012.

Do you aspire to be Irish Captain?

I would be silly if I didn’t, I think it would be an honour, but these things take time and experience which I’m getting plenty of each year!

What can we do to continue to getting people interested in Softball?

There are so many ways to get people interested, and Softball Ireland, Softball Leinster, Ulster and Munster do trojan work. I think that schools are a great way to get kids/teenagers interested – how many of us played rounders in school??
Colleges in particular have been important for softball, UCD and UL being two prime examples of this, so many players in the Leinster League have come from colleges.

Are you sponsored?

Unfortunately not, every player pays their own way to tournaments etc, with the help of team fundraising!

What’s your international Goal?

To play at a European Championships, and come home with a medal around my neck!

Who is your favourite female player?

There are too many players to pick just one in Slowpitch, and that’s not me avoiding the question – it’s the truth, I’ve been lucky to play with and against some amazing female softballers!
For fastpitch, I would have to say Jennie Finch from the USA, a fierce competitor and someone who put in the hard work and reaped the rewards, not everyone can say the have an Olympic gold medal!

Who is your favourite male player?

As with the female players, it’s so hard to pinpoint just one person, I’ve learned a lot from the male players I’ve played with!

Which countries have you played Softball in? Where was your favourite?

So far I have only traveled to the UK, but the different tournaments have been eye openers to what I have to do to get to the top level.

Slowpitch or Fastpitch? Which do you prefer?

Something tells me I’d get in trouble with either answer – so I’ll take the diplomatic route and say that I love both because they are so different in ways which keeps you on your toes! Slowpitch is what I am used to and what I’ve loved playing for nearly 4 years, and the excitement behind the beginning of the fastpitch programme is infectious!

Updated Underage Player Guidelines Issued

Issued April 9, 2015

Requirements for Under-18s playing adult softball


Everyone who participates in softball is entitled to do so in a fun, enjoyable and safe environment. These principles apply to all participants, but young people in particular are entitled to a higher duty of care.

These requirements are minimum standards to be followed by all Softball Ireland – affiliated teams, whether competing in local leagues, in tournaments or internationally.  Teams, leagues and tournaments can introduce additional requirements governing the participation of young players on adult teams as they see fit. A young player is defined as a player younger than 18 years of age and at least 14 years of age at the time of taking the field.

1) Each team shall appoint a Welfare Officer who will ensure that the appropriate welfare procedures and checks are followed and that there is a process in place to assess whether the young player is competent to play at which the team is competing.
2) Each player who is under 18 shall be assessed for this purpose by regionally nominated representatives or appointed Softball Ireland national team coaches.

3) Two areas shall be considered when deciding if a young player is competent to take part in an adult team or game:
i. General physical capability.
ii. Softball skills and ability.
4) A brief record of the player’s name, date of the assessment, competency for all or specified positions and any observations or comments shall be made in writing to the Regional Council.
5) The young person’s parent or guardian shall complete a Permission to Play form in all cases where the young person is competing with an adult team or taking part in an adult game.  If a parent / guardian is unfamiliar with softball, a club representative shall explain the risks of the sport to them.  The completed form shall be retained by the Team Captain and copy sent to the Regional Secretary.
6) The team shall arrange regular training and coaching sessions which young players should attend in order to progress their softball development and skills.
7) Young players shall wear a helmet and face guard when batting and base running in.  All players under 18 who are coaching, umpiring or acting as batboys or batgirls shall wear a helmet when on the field.

8) Young players shall wear a gum shield if playing in the infield.

9) Young players must wear a catcher’s mask if playing that position in slowpitch softball.

10) Young players shall wear appropriate sports footwear.

11) The Team Coach or Captain shall review a young player’s competence to continue playing should game conditions change – for example, due to adverse weather, a change in the level of play or the conduct or aggressiveness of the opposing team.

12) If an Umpire is unsure about the competence of a young player, he or she shall make his concerns known to the Team Captain.