IFA want higher profile in city
THE Irish Football Association are stepping up plans to try and promote themselves better not just in Londonderry, but throughout the North West.
In recent years the likes of Shane Duffy and Darron Gibson, who after coming through under age ranks with Northern Ireland, decided to switch their allegiances to play for the Republic of Ireland, and the IFA are hoping with a better relationship in the region those days will come to an end.
Only a number weeks ago the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled against the IFA's bid to prevent more Northern Ireland-born players opting for the Republic.
The IFA took a case to the Lausanne-based body after Daniel Kearns became the latest Northern Ireland-born player to switch to the Republic this year.
Like Manchester United's Gibson and Everton's Duffy, Kearns changed allegiance after playing at youth level for Northern Ireland.
In fact after the Sentinel received a letter and numerous telephone calls from worried Northern Ireland supporters, we contacted the hierarchy in Belfast and Patrick Nelson, Chief Executive, admitted that the ball is already rolling so to speak.
"Only a few weeks ago myself, Dessie Curry (IFA Director of Coaching) and Michael Boyd (IFA Head of Good Relations), had a meeting with the Deputy Town Clerk John Meehan about promoting the IFA more in the city," he said.
"I decided to call the council and set-up the meeting after visiting Kevin Doherty our Grassroots Development Officer in June. I was looking at a few projects he was doing and I felt we should be promoting and shouting more about these projects.
"I'm hoping to possibly organise another meeting with Mr Meehan in the not too distant future.
"We have three Primary School coaches who along with Kevin and our County Londonderry Performance Coach Stephen Robinson are doing a fantastic job in and around the city. But from my point of view I feel the IFA needs to be the most welcome to every boy and girl whenever they come into our system.
"I want to build on our Primary School projects, which sees our coaches in 30 schools a week, not just coaching, but also having fun with the kids and as I have said in my opinion we need to make both Northern Ireland and the IFA as welcoming as possible for everyone."
Another interesting point of view the Northern Ireland supporters wanted clear-up was the fact that international boss Nigel Worthington doesn't seem to keep a close eye on players from Londonderry, however the Chief Executive doesn't agree with that.
"I know he's looking all the time, for example and I know he's not from the city but only last season Nigel went and watched Rory Patterson and then gave him his debut against Albania, he played well and did really well in the mini-tournament in the States against Turkey and Chile at the end of the season.
"As everyone knows he's now playing in England with Plymouth."
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Weather for Londonderry
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
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