Updated COVID-19 Hub

Softball Ireland is pleased to announce that the COVID-19 Hub has now been updated for the 2021 season. The COVID-19 Hub is accessible from the ‘Resources’ tab above or by clicking here.

The latest updates to the COVID-19 Hub include:

  • Updated Return to Play Policy for 2021
  • A Risk Assessment Template that can be used and modified by the teams
  • A Risk Assessment Guidance Document to explain how to risk assess your team’s activities / venues
  • A status table outlining what events can happen where

The COVID-19 Hub will be updated regularly throughout the season, including document updates and FAQs. If there is anything you would like to see on the hub, please get in touch with us.

Due to government restrictions, please note that teams in the Republic of Ireland continue to be restricted from training or playing games and the insurance policy remains suspended.

For all COVID-19 enquiries, Softball Ireland continue to have a dedicated email: covid@softball.ie.

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.

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.

The Co-Ed Slow Pitch National Team representing Ireland.

Sofball Ireland Slowpitch National Teams – Open Positions

Director of Slowpitch National Teams 

The previously advertised position will report directly to the Softball Ireland board and provide oversight for all Slowpitch National Teams operations including, but not limited to, programme finances, personnel (hiring, evaluations) and programme operations, team logistics (scheduling, programme needs). The Director will oversee, coordinate and evaluate all coaches and players and is responsible for overall team operations, while reporting directly to the Board of Softball Ireland. The Coaching staff of the Slowpitch National Team programmes will report directly to the Director of Slowpitch National Teams.

Slowpitch National Teams Head Coach

Softball Ireland are seeking a Slowpitch National Teams Head Coach who will be responsible for coaching Softball Ireland’s Slowpitch National teams (CO-ED and Men’s) to compete in European and World Cup competitions. The Head Coach will focus on the development, training and selection of the Slowpitch National Teams.

The job specifications for the positions are available below and candidates are requested to submit a cover letter and curriculum vitate to the Softball Ireland Secretary, Steve Trundle (secretary@softball.ie) by 5pm on Friday January 29, 2021.

Click Here to Download Director of Slowpitch National Teams Job Description

Click Here to Download Slowpitch National Teams Head Coach Job Description

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.”

COVID-19 Restrictions Update (Island of Ireland)

Island of Ireland Restrictions

In accordance with the restrictions as set out by the Northern Ireland Executive and the decision of the Irish Government to move the Republic of Ireland to Level 5, all Softball activities inclusive of training is suspended for a period of six weeks from Thursday October 22, 2020.

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.

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

COVID-19 Restrictions Update (Dublin County – Level 3)

Further to the announcement of the Government (Irish Republic), Dublin County has been moved to Level 3 under the framework for Restrictive Measures.

What does this mean for Softball in Dublin?

With effect from September 19, 2020, to such time as the Government changes the Level applied to Dublin County, no softball matches/friendlies/pick-up games may be played in the County of Dublin. Please note, should any Club arrange/play a match/friendy/pick-up game during this period the participating teams will not be insured.

Can our Club still practice in Dublin?

Level 3 permits for non contact training only in pods of up to 15 for this period. For softball, the Medical Committee has defined a Club as a Pod.

With effect from September 19, 2020 to such time as the Government changes the Level applied to Dublin County, Dublin based Clubs may host outdoor practice to a maximum of 15 attendees who must be Club members only (non-club members may not be invited to practice sessions). All practices must be conducted in accordance with the Softball Ireland Return to Play Protocol.

What about Clubs outside of Dublin County?

For all other Clubs (Irish Republic) outside the County of Dublin, matches and training may be held in accordance with the current Government advice and Softball Ireland Return to Play Protocol.

For Clubs based in Northern Ireland, Softball is permitted if the conditions set out by the Northern Ireland Executive are met

We would ask all our memebers to continue to follow the Softball Ireland Return to Play Protocol and respect the restrictions put in place by the respective Governments.

All the latest information for Softball Ireland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and return to play are available here.