We caught up with Ginell from the Phoenix Tigers to find out more about the club and how joining this team can have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
Tell me a bit about your background in football?
I have played soccer for as long as I remember. Growing up with very supportive parents in regards to women's sports had a very positive impact on my progression in soccer. Having 2 brothers and 4 older sisters who were also active in sports added to my love of physical activities and my competitive side! I played on boys football teams in national school when there were no girls teams. When I got older I played for my secondary school Coola V.S along with our local club in Sligo, Arrow Harps FC at junior/senior level. Later I joined Athlone IT's soccer team and played casually with a team in Sydney when I went to Australia for a year. I moved to Dublin in April 2010 and joined the Phoenix Tigers immediately. I also played in the DWSL (Dublin Women’s Soccer League) with Whitehall Ranges FC for a few seasons and play in the Astro.ie 6 aside Astro league in Blackrock.
When and how did the Phoenix Tigers come together?
The Phoenix Tigers came together long before I moved to Dublin, back in 2004. It started in Outhouse at the regular Thursday night women’s meet up. Someone suggested meeting to play football in the Phoenix Park as another way to socialise outside of the scene. The first training session saw about 20 women show up and it grew from there. Eventually it was decided that the team needed a name. Phoenix seemed almost obligatory but there was already a women’s team with this name so it needed something more and sure, Tigers, why not? The first tournament the team entered was the annual Galway Halloween competition. It was a huge success and the start of great things to come!
What kind of training do the Phoenix Tigers do?
We play weekly indoor at the YMCA on Thursdays, 8-9pm. There is a break during the Xmas and New Year and also during the peak summer month when we take a week or two off. For anyone who would like to come and play, all you need is some suitable footwear you can run and kick a ball in, some light sports wear (as it can get very warm indoors) and a bottle of water. The cost is €7 per person with all sessions offered as pay as you go. We have a wide range of ages, skills and fitness levels, from complete beginners to women who have played at a high level and now just want something fun with no pressure!
If you had to single out one moment or event as being as the highlight of your time with the Phoenix Tigers, what would it be? It's hard to pick just one so I'm going to go with two moments! The first was when the Phoenix Tigers traveled to Rotterdam in 2011 for the EuroGames and won bronze medals. It was my first time at a major competition with the Phoenix Tigers and the overall experience was amazing, one I will never forget.
Another major moment for different reasons was on May 23rd 2015 after Ireland voted in favour of same sex marriage. The Phoenix Tigers flew to Paris on Friday May 22nd after visiting the polling stations to compete in the Paris International Football Tournament. The whole week prior to the tournament and the referendum was very intense. We were so nervous flying over thinking about what Referendum results we would be flying home to. While the results from Ireland were showing a Yes vote early in the day we were in the middle of a game. The organisers of the Paris football tournament announced over the stadium sound system that "Ireland has said Yes"! We all stopped playing football and ran to each other to embrace at this amazing news. Our opponents were very understanding and were happy to stand and let us enjoy that moment together. It was a pretty emotional time for all of us. While we did not win any medals, we went home feeling like winners all the same.
In what way do you think other members of the LGBTQ+ community could benefit from joining the Phoenix Tigers?
Judging from my own experience there are so many benefits to be gained from joining the Phoenix Tigers. The opportunity to meet so many lovely people and make long lasting friendships, having a fun weekly football session with no pressure, and the opportunity to play in competitions when they arise are just some of the many benefits! It is also great for your physical and mental health. We arrange nights out in the city and attend sporting events together, such as the Irish Women's football team home games in Tallaght Stadium. It is a place of acceptance and even if football isn't your thing, come along and give it a go!
For anyone who wants to get involved with the Phoenix Tigers, what is the best way for them to find out more about ye and get in touch?
Anyone who would like to get involved can contact us using any of the methods below: Email: email@example.com