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Ladies first

With the launch of the new Danske Bank Women’s Premiership season growing ever closer, marks International Women’s Day by celebrating the ongoing success story that is Cliftonville Ladies.

Featuring a host of teams who compete in various Leagues and Cups across a variety of age groups, the Club are hugely proud of the strides our female set-up has made over the last 13 years and look forward to similarly positive returns in the seasons to come – hopefully starting with victory in tonight’s Under 17 Girls Cup Final against Glentoran at Seaview.

Throughout the campaign ahead, our Official Website will deliver previews, reports and intriguing features to ensure our supporters are kept fully updated on all aspects of the Ladies’ progress from our Under 9s through to the seniors and indeed those selected to play internationally.

The Club operates Girls teams at Under 9, Under 11, Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 level, while Cliftonville Corinthians (Under 19s) effectively act as a Reserve team to the senior Ladies set-up.

We are proud to say our female sides have gone from strength to strength in recent seasons and if you’d like to get involved, simply contact contact Head of Academy Marissa Callaghan on 07706182378 and we’d be more than happy to welcome you along.

Senior Coaching
Head Coach Marty Douglas is assisted by Jo Smith and Jo-Anne McCarthy.

Along with Goalkeeping Coach Tiarna McKenna, Strength and Conditioning guide McCarthy has been with Cliftonville Ladies since the team’s foundation, while everyone is regularly indebted to physio Cheyrll Quail for her efforts with the walking wounded.

International recognition
Cliftonville Ladies players are no stranger to the international stage at various age levels, however Marissa Callaghan is the entire Club’s most capped player of all time and made her 50th appearance for Northern Ireland in last week’s 6-0 victory over Jordan.

What’s more, her 53rd outing for Alfie Wylie’s side saw Marissa skipper the team – including Solitude team-mate Emma McMaster – to bronze medals in the Turkish Cup, where Northern Ireland got the better of Uzbekistan in Tuesday’s Third Place Play-Off.

The season ahead
Despite being minus the services of no fewer than 13 players, Cliftonville warmed up for the new term with a credible 1-1 draw against Sion Swifts last weekend and will discover their schedule for the forthcoming Danske Bank Women’s Premiership campaign when the fixtures are released by the NI Football League on Monday.

In addition to the return of 2015 Irish Cup winner Leontia McVarnock following a brief spell with Linfield, the Reds will also welcome Academy graduates Leah McEvoy (above), Eirinn Canavan, Carla Davine, Hollie Mailey, Rebekah Matthews and Sophie Lynn into the senior side this season, with both Fi Morgan and Shona Davis poised to make the step up when they turn 16 later in the year.

Cup dates
Cliftonville will begin their defence of the County Antrim Cup (above) when they host Linfield Ladies – who they defeated in last year’s Final – on April 15, while the Reds’ Under 17s will hope to land silverware when they face Glentoran in the South Belfast Girls League Cup decider at Seaview this evening.

Cliftonville Ladies recently agreed a deal that will see training specialists Total Football NI coming in to work with all age groups utilise a programme of gym sessions, flexibility, grid work and, for First Team Coaches, match analysis sessions.

All Academy squads (U9 – U17) train at the Club’s former base on the Cliftonville Road Cricket Ground every Thursday (5.30pm-7pm), with the Seniors and Corinthians hosting Sunday sessions at Solitude.