Brown hails growth of ladies game

By Michael McMullan

ANTRIM captain Ciara Brown is enthused by the growth of ladies football in the Saffron County.

Back in her own playing days at underage, it was the same seven clubs vying for titles every year with players ending up marking the same opponents year one year.

“Every time you go out to play, you’d be laughing and saying ‘here we are again’, that type of thing,” Brown joked.

“It’s actually grown a whole lot in Antrim. There’s so many new clubs actually starting now, new clubs altogether, and there’s been a lot of clubs that had no ladies at all.”

Brown was at an event when St Brigid’s, Cloughmills set up a new ladies team, a move that transformed the club.

“They’ve done very well there as well, getting through their first league match with a win and I’ve been keeping eyes on them, I think it’s absolutely unreal,” Brown said.

The new players, new teams and different voices are all feeding into a more vibrant club scene that will eventually form a wider base for Antrim teams in the future.

Antrim’s recent Ulster and All-Ireland Intermediate titles have help lift the profile in the county and they begin their provincial defence on Sunday against Down in Glenavy.

Brown puts the growth down to more recognition and compares going to All-Ireland finals in Croke Park when she was younger to the bumper crowd now.

“More people have actually showed interest in it,” she said, pointing to the realism that football is not just for men.

“I feel like now that so many people have actually taken interest in it and started to watch it, started to gain interest and follow it, it’s just grew from there.”

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