Category: Board

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.

COVID-19 Upate – February 2021

Island of Ireland Restrictions

In accordance with the restrictions as set out by the Northern Ireland Executive and the decision of the Irish Government set the Republic of Ireland to Level 5, all Softball activities inclusive of training continue to be suspended to at least March 5, 2021.

Please note that during this period no softball activities are covered by the Softball Ireland insurance policy. Please note that the suspension of activities inludes but is not limited to leagues, tournament, inter-team games, practices and training in any sized grouping.

Softball Ireland woud encourage our members to follow all public health guidelines and continue to work together to reduce the spread of the virus.

Softball Ireland continues to liase with Softball Leinster, Softball Ulster and Galway Tribes to plan and prepare for international tournaments, leagues and club tournaments in 2021. Updates will be issued to Club contacts in the coming weeks.

The Board wishes continued good health to all our members and their families.

Ashbourne Antlers Need Our Help

Leinster League’s Ashbourne Antlers Softball Club and their sister club Ashbourne Baseball Club are asking for our support in signing a petition (Click Here For Link To Petition) to protect the International Baseball Centre.

A motion is going before Meath County Council regarding the planning status of the land that the International Baseball Centre,home to the Ashbourne Antlers. The proposal is seeking to have this land zoned as residential.

Such a decision would open the possibility of the land being sold to a developer and Ashbourne Baseball and Softball Club being evicted. The club has invested a lot of time, energy and money into the venue which has become the premier venue for Baseball in Ireland since it opened. The venue is also home to the Antlers and has become a facourite venue for teams to travel to.

We would ask our members to support Ashbourne Antlers and Ashbourne Baseball club by signing the attached petition and sharing the link on social media and across your teams.

https://www.change.org/p/meath-county-council-stop-ashbourne-community-centre-from-being-zoned-residential?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=custom_url&recruited_by_id=379048e0-1f11-0130-347c-38ac6f16d25f&fbclid=IwAR1DX6hG9LY-ApEC2ZzufxUjRLfaY8FlNWXVZTEtIPkj0w89VK-F7AARylU

Softball Ireland 2021 Board Appointed

At the Softball Ireland Annual General Meeting held via Zoom on November 29, 2020 the Softball Ireland Board for the 2021 Season was elected as follows:

– Colum Lavery (President – 2nd of 2 year term)

– Steven Trundle (Secretary – DB Packers)

– Massimo Lepri (Treasurer – Wicklow)

– Declan Carty (Board Member – Galway)

– Andrew Craven (Ulster Rep – Sliders/Chair of SU)

– Melanie Cunningham (Fastpitch Rep – Marlay/Chair of Fastpitch Ireland)

– Gillian Fitzpatrick (Board Member – Dodder)

– Amanda Ní Ghabhann (Leinster Rep – Renegades/SL Secretary)

– Matt Steerman (Board Member – Kegs)

Speaking following the election, Softball Ireland President Colum Lavery said “I am really excited to welcome the new Board members to Softball Ireland. We have a lot of work to do in order to continue growing Softball in Ireland and I am delighted we are joined on the Board by a number of returning Board members and new faces who will bring fresh ideas and lot of expertise. I am excited to see what we can achieve in the coming months and years.”

Colum added “I wish to thank Conor Sayles for all his efforts as Secretary for the last three years. Conor has helped manage and guide Softball Ireland with a calm hand and professionalism. I also wish to thank Reggie Clark for his time and commitment to the Board as the Softball Ulster Rep in 2020.”

Suspension of Softball Activities in Leinster

Softball Ireland have been advised this afternoon of a positive COVID-19 test from a player who played in the Hippies v Dodder Premier Division game on August 4, 2020.

The Softball Ireland Medical Committee were notified of the positive case and the Committee have considered the impact of the positive result noting in particular player movement within the Softball Leinster League during the 2020 season. 

The Softball Ireland Board recognise the efforts taken by all teams to ensure a safe playing environment for all participants to date and urge clubs to continue following the Protocols available on www.softball.ie. 

The Board, having noted the recommendation of the Medical Committee, this evening AGREED that:

  • Players from Dodder Softball Club and Hippetys Softball Club cannot participate in any Softball Activities for 14 days with immediate effect.
  • Softball activities in Softball Leinster inclusive of practice are postponed from 0700 Saturday August 15, 2020 through 0700 August 23, 2020. 
  • Softball activities in Galway inclusive of practice are postponed from 0700 Saturday August 15, 2020 through 0700 August 23, 2020.

All players are reminded to follow the HSE guidance with regards to COVID-19 and monitor for symptoms. If you concerned that you may require a test, please follow the HSE process detailed on the following link: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/testing/how-to-get-tested.html

The Softball Ireland Board appreciate the ongoing support of the Softball Leinster Committee and the impacted teams at this time.

Softball Ireland Face Masks on Sale

Further to the introduction of mandatory facemasks by the Irish government, Softball Ireland are looking to produce Softball Ireland branded masks to both promote OUR sport and keep members safe during these unprecedented times.

The bottle green mask with the softball Ireland logo has an adjustable fitting and is machine washable.

Protection

The mask includes:

  • High strength woven fabric
  • Inserted surgical wrap filter
  • Sterille Barrier System *EN-ISO 11607
  • Barrier against micro-organisms
  • Two inner layers of microfibres that avoid the penetration of particles and fluids
  • Made in Ireland

Cost

Masks may be purchased individually or in bulk for the following prices:

Individual Mask – €9 per mask

Team Mask Purchases (orders of 10+ mask) – €8.50 per mask

If you wish to order face masks, please complete the order form using the below link:

Order Form: https://forms.gle/y4U1U2BQtAY5rYHm9

To produce the mask our supplier will need a minimum order of 100 masks, once orders have been received, we will keep those who have placed orders updated on the status.

Let’s both promote our sport and stay safe!

Champion Green, Champion Softballers

Softball Ireland have today announced an initiative to support the promotion of businesses owned by Softball Ireland members through our website and social media channels.

2020 has been a very difficult year for most small business in Ireland and in support of the national campaign to “Champion Green” we are asking the Softball Ireland community to “Shop Local, Shop Softball”.

Softball Ireland member owned small businesses are invited to send us in details of their businesses, their promotions etc and Softball Ireland will promote them to the Sofball Ireland community through our website and social media channels.

We will be creating a dedicated page on our site to allow members to check the directory of Softball Ireland member businesses.

The Softball Ireland board feel its important to encourage, Shop Local, Shop Softball, to support our community in these challenging times.

If you wish to submit your business name, logo, short explanation of what you do and contact details please send them to president@Softball.ie

Have Your Say: CO-ED Slowpitch Development Plan Consultation

The Slowpitch Development Working Group has prepared a DRAFT development plan for co-ed slowpitch softball in Ireland.

This plan has been developed with the working party comprising of Ruth Brady, Declan Carty, Andrew Craven, Will Gilpin, Amanda Ní Ghabhann, Jay Slevin & Colum Lavery (President).  There have been two workshops to develop the DRAFT, and a third is planned for the end of August to considering member feedback.

Sofball Ireland members are invited to review the attached draft Co-ed Slowpitch Development plan and consider the below questions.

The DRAFT CO-ED Slowpitch Development Plan can be downloaded here

1. Do you agree with the vision statement yes/No
2. If No can you, please provide comment on what needs to be changed and or added
3. Do you agree with the six work streams required to achieve the Vision yes/No
4. If No can you, please provide comment on what is missing and or should be removed/changed
5. Is there anything missing from the tasks/programmes to be developed that you feel should be considered for inclusion in the next Draft

The final date for feedback on the plan is Monday 17th August. The Project Team will meet on the 27th August and consider what changes should be made to the Draft as a result of the feedback received. Following this meeting, a final Draft Development Plan will be provided to the Softball Ireland Board for its consideration and hopefully, approval.

Members are asked to send their feedback on the DRAFT CO-ED Slowpitch Development plan to DevSurvey@softball.ie




Home plate with a bat, balls and helmet.

Softball Ireland Return to Play Framework

Softball Ireland are fortunate to have two doctors on the Board, representing North and South of the border respectively, as our medical committee. Following the most recent public health advice from the HSE and the NI Executive, they have presented initial return to play timelines to the Board. Following receipt of feedback from the regions, the Board have approved these as our national framework. The committee will now consider detailed return to play protocols (including playing rules), while the Board works with the regions on challenges such as insurance costs, field availability and competition structure. 

1. Seek to reactivate Softball Ireland insurance as of 20th July 2020.

2. Teams may train from 20th July 2020 provided insurance is in place, no more than two teams are present at the diamond and the Softball Ireland return to play protocols are adhered to.

3. Games may commence from 1st August 2020 provided insurance is in place, no more than two teams are present at a diamond and the Softball Ireland return to play protocols are adhered to.

4. No tournaments will be sanctioned in 2020, including BWC, IOST, SINCC, and club/national tournaments at home or abroad.

5. Team captains must submit electronically a list of attendees at training or games, within 24 hours, in line with HSE contact tracing requirements, for 6-week retention.

6. SI will make a final decision on Softball Ulster activity after the NI Executive publishes timelines for their recently published roadmap.

Expected return to play timeline
Expected Softball Ireland Return to Play Timeline

This position is subject to change as further information is made available to the public by the HSE and NI Executive. Final decisions on when games will be played, competition structures and fees will be set by Softball Ireland and the regions, subject to this framework and the SI Return to Play Protocols (TBA) being adhered to. The Softball Ireland Return to Play Protocols will be issued no later than the 30th of June 2020. Any questions to secretary@softball.ie.

Softball Ireland Constitution Review

The Softball Ireland Board would like to take this opportunity to review our governance, including the constitution and regulations. We are setting up a working group for this purpose, but would also like invite thoughts from all members. Please see attached our current constitution (with the 2018 & 2019 AGM changes marked as tracked changes), our current regulations, the proposed changes from the 2019 AGM which were not progressed following the COVID-19 cancellation of the EGM, and a form to submit ideas. This consultation period will be open for three weeks until Sunday 7th June. The working group will propose changes to the constitution at the next EGM/AGM. We will also be taking the independent report shared at the AGM, and Sport Ireland guidelines, into consideration.

View the SI Constitution

View the SI Regulations

View the Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Download the Consultation Response Document

Send all completed responses to secretary@softball.ie by Sunday 7th June 2020.