An exhibition on the history of women’s football in Ireland will be launched at the County Museum in Dundalk on Saturday.
‘From Small Acorns’ marks the 50th anniversary of the Stade de Reims Women’s football club tour of Ireland in 1973 when the French side played a number of women’s invitational sides throughout Ireland, including Dublin, Waterford, Limerick and Oriel Park. This tour played a significant role in establishing the women’s game in Ireland.
Louth County Council’s Museum Curator, Brian Walsh, told the Dundalk Democrat that the exhibition aims to celebrate and capture the passion and enthusiasm that underpins football.
He said: “The growth and interest in women’s football today is a direct consequence not only of this tour but also the efforts of so many people – be they players or administrators alike – who played and organized matches and competitions in a very different Ireland culturally, socially and technologically.
“This is social history at its finest. It is a story with a cast of thousands, with each person contributing. It may be a story that is 50 years in the making but it is humbling and invigorating to meet the players and coaches of the time and talk about their memories of the time.
“As important is the trailblazing role that people from County Louth played in developing the game be they, Paula Gorham (FAI Hall of Fame inductee 2021) or Kevin and Nan Gaynor who set up the Dundalk Ladies team and were heavily involved in the development of the game in Ireland.”
The exhibition documents the tour as well as the development of subsequent links to other French sides culminating in the first international between France and the Republic of Ireland.
Among the notable items for display include two jerseys from the matches against Stade de Reims; Paula Gorham’s international cap, a team pennant as well as a programme and promotional posters for the tour.
The exhibition will be launched by Paula Gorham, former Dundalk FC and Ireland women’s team player, and will be attended by An Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, Cllr Paula Butterly.
It will open to the public on Saturday, November 18th and will run to mid-January. Admission is free.
For further information contact the County Museum at 042 9392 999.
Picture caption: Members of the Dundalk Ladies football team, from left, Paula Gorham, Marie Conway nee Bingham, Kay O’Connor, Margret Enright nee Murphy, Marie O’Connell who represented Ireland in a match against Corinthian Nomads of England, played in Wales in 1968, at half-time of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile