De La Salle Palmerston FC (DLSP) is a local community rugby club with teams for men, women, boys, girls, special needs and mixed ability.
The club has a long standing relationship with London Irish going back nearly 40 years with teams travelling to each other since 1985. Up until this year, it had only been mens and boys teams who had the opportunity to travel, but this year is different.
The growing girls section of the club in Kilternan is mainly made up of girls and young women from the local area. They are hoping to bring approximately 12 players from their Under 12s team over to London.
As part of their fundraising campaign, their determined girls are going to 'walk' to the London Irish Club from their own club in Kilternan. Between them and their coaches, the girls will cover the 601km distance over the month of February walking in the local area. They have nearly completed their virtual walk and have collected sponsorship from family, friends, neighbours and the wider community through their online fundraising page.
Speaking to Her Sport, Caroline Ryan, parent of 2 U12 girls Esmé (12) and Laela (11) spoke about how significant an opportunity this is for the girls;
"We, as parents of the players, see the huge social and health benefits directly for our girls. Regardless of this tour it is a passion we all share and worth championing."
"The boys within the club have enjoyed this experience for almost 40 years, it’s great the girls get to take part now too. The girls are a dedicated group, they love training and are so passionate about their matches. There are great friendships being forged and as parents we really want to encourage their continued participation in sport. Teenage years can see so many girls drop out of sports so we are doing what we can to nurture and grow that love for sport and keep up the passion they currently have."
"We are also planning a few other fundraising events including an Afternoon Tea, an Easter Disco and I’m sure a Cake Sale or two will be thrown in for good measure!"
11-year-old Laela is a member of the team and said: "My brother and other older brothers of my team mates have gone on the London Irish trip over the last few years and still talk about how great it was. We have all said how we would love to go but didn’t think it would happen for us. I’m just so happy that it’s our turn now. We get to show we are as good as the boys…actually we might be better!"
Their next event is their Afternoon Tea which takes place on March 4th and takes place DLSP Club House with the venue, decorations and savoury food donated by one of their main tour sponsors, The Salmo Social. Cakes are being provided by local business, Davys Cakes and the Prosecco and their Pink Lemonade is being sponsored by Emma Slowe Entertainment.
You can find out more about the event on their socials and if you would like to sponsor the team on their once in a lifetime trip you can do so here.