Month: March 2021

Ulster Teams coming together at a summer tournament.

Happy Birthday Softball Ulster

This week, on the 31st March 2021, Softball Ulster celebrated its 13th birthday. Established in 2008, SU has now grown to become the second largest regional association of softball on the island of Ireland. Current Softball Ireland President Colum Lavery signed Softball Ulster into being during his previous role as SI Secretary – you can view the original letter below, shared by Andrew Craven the current Chairperson of SU. The first Chairperson of SU was Carrie Trundle, who worked hard to earn recognition for the Ulster teams and bring SU into being.

In 2008 the SU League only featured three teams: the Smokin’ Aces, Aviators and Brawlers. In 2021 the SU League has expanded to feature six teams, which still includes two of the original three: the Smokin’ Aces, Brawlers, Sliders, Cubs, Angels and Bucs. At its largest, the SU League included a total of eight teams. Notable teams over the years include: the Aviators, Jets, Braves and Mariners.

If you want more information on the history of Softball Ulster, or the sport of softball in general, why not visit their website at: www.softballulster.com!

The original letter that signed Softball Ulster into existence
Calendar

Softball Ireland Provisional 2021 Calendar

Softball Ireland are pleased to announce the provisional calendar for the 2021 season. You can use the interactive calendar below to view the dates for Softball Ireland, Softball Leinster, Softball Ulster and European Championships. Please note that although tournaments are being scheduled for 2021, these are subject to COVID-19 restrictions and may not go ahead given the restrictions in place at the time.

International Women’s Day – Amanda Ní Ghabhann

Continuing the celebration of International Women’s Day 2021, Softball Ireland are highlighting the profiles of our female Board Members who are key to the leadership and governance of our sport.

Our next proflie is Amanda Ní Ghabhann. Softball Ireland Board Member who plays softball with Renegades Softball Club.

How did you get involved in Softball?
A friend had seen a game being played in St Annes Park and wanted to try it out; she didn’t want to go on her own so convinced me to tag along; that was 5 years ago 🙂 

Why do you think Softball is such an inclusive sport?
Softball is a coed sport that adapts naturally to people’s needs; there’s certain rules which achieve this but the individual element of the team game also promotes inclusivity. The membership ranges from 16-70. It is also a socially distant sport, which is a huge positive in the current times. 

How can we get more women playing team sports after school?
That’s the million dollar question, right! I think we need to provide more opportunities that meet women’s needs, to address the gender play gap. Campaigns like 20×20 “if she can’t see it, she can’t be it” provided more visibility of female role models in sport, but the fundamental needs like fun, family and work life balance need to be incorporated into participation for most women. Softball meets all of these needs by combining a fun – competitive – supportive – inclusive environment. 

What motivated you to join the Softball Ireland Board?
I joined the Softball Leinster board with the desire to be the Leinster rep on the Softball Ireland board. I felt this would be the best way to share my professional knowledge of sports governance and streamline strategies between regional and national committees. 

How do we encourage more women to get involved in leadership in sport?
I don’t think women need encouragement to get involved in leadership in sport; I think we need better strategies for female participation in ALL areas of sport with particular focus on retention. If we address the specific needs of women and grow numbers across the baseline we will naturally see an increase of women  in leadership roles.

International Women’s Day – Dr. Melanie Cunningham

In continuing the celebration of International Women’s Day 2021, Softball Ireland are highlighting the profiles of our female Board Members who are key to the leadership and governance of our sport.

Our next proflie is Melanie Cunningham, Softball Ireland Board Member, Director of Fastpitch Softball, Women’s National Team Head Coach and former international player.

How did you get involved in Softball?
I started playing softball when I was 4, I was lucky that my Mom signed me up. There weren’t actually a lot of other options at the time for girls, but I loved it. There were times when I was playing on 3-4 different teams in different leagues, so that I could play basically every day of the week.

Why do you think Softball is such an inclusive sport?
The thing about softball, is there is a level for everyone. You just want to come out 1 day a week, never practice and socialise during the game – no problem. Or conversely, you want to play at an elite level internationally? The options are yours.

How can we get more women playing team sports after school?
Unfortunately, women often feel there is no place for them to have something they enjoy doing during the week. After work, family, and any other long-term commitments, women are tired and don’t feel they have the time – it can all become quite insular. Whereas, it is actually just an hour or two one or 2 days a week, and research shows staying active helps improve energy levels and overall health and well-being. These days social media is a great way to spread the word – but also mainstream media focusing on women sports and giving them equal air time will show the opportunities available.

What motivated you to join the Softball Ireland Board?
I thought it was important to have more women involved at the decision-making level, especially since I invest a lot of my limited spare time into coaching and holding open days to promote the sport.

How do we encourage more women to get involved in leadership in sport?
By asking and encouraging women to take up these positions. I always keep an eye out for players who have a natural ability to coach and try to incorporate them into future teams in this new role. As the visibility of women in these roles increases, it will become a part of the automatic transition cycle within the sport.

International Women’s Day – Gillian Fitzpatrick

Joining the world in celebrating International Women’s Day 2021, Softball Ireland are highlighting the profiles of our female Board Members who are key to the leadership and governance of our sport.

Our first proflie is Gillian Fitzpatrick, Softball Ireland Board Member who plays softball with Dodder Softball Club.

How did you get involved in Softball?
The media agency, Carat, holds an annual charity softball tournament in September. I took part in 2018 – my first intro to the game.

Why do you think Softball is such an inclusive sport?
It caters for mixed abilities brilliantly. It’s not a sport that relies on being the fastest and strongest – there are lots of different skills you can draw on. There’s a super social element too.

How can we get more women playing team sports after school?
There’s been a strong movement towards health and wellness recently and team sports are an important part of that. More women need to be aware of the likes of softball and reap the benefits of training and playing.

What motivated you to join the Softball Ireland Board?
I saw it as a great chance to apply the experience I have within media and advertising to promote the game. It’s also helping to deepen my understanding of softball in general.

How do we encourage more women to get involved in leadership in sport?
Better diversity at board and senior operational levels is key and has a positive knock-on effect. We all need prioritise getting more women visible in all aspects of sport.