The inaugural Women in Football – Emerging Leaders Programme concludes


The inaugural Women in Football – Emerging Leaders Programme concludes

The inaugural Women in Football – Emerging Leaders Programme concluded last weekend.

4th Dec 2020

Affected by COVID-19 throughout 2020, the Programme was concluded online a year after it began at FAI HQ.


The programme, which was run and organised by the FAI’s Head of Women’s Football Sue Ronan, saw 33 women from various football backgrounds in Ireland take part in the first edition of the Programme.

The Women in Football – Emerging Leaders Programme was set up in partnership with FIFA and UEFA, the Programme aimed to provide female administrators with the tools, techniques and skills necessary for them to undertake senior positions efficiently and with greater confidence within Clubs, Leagues, Regional and National Committee level.

Speaking after the final weekend of the programme, Ronan said the calibre of participants on the course was excellent.

“Our first Women In Football – Emerging Leaders Programme was completed last weekend, however I’m sure this is far from the end for this group of inspiring and talented women.  Over the course of the last year they showed they already have exceptional leadership qualities and I’ve no doubt they will go on to make a huge difference in whatever area of football they are currently involved.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank both FIFA and UEFA for their support, without them this event would not have taken place. I’d particularly like to extend thanks to our main facilitator – Karl Lines – as well as the obvious knowledge and expertise Karl has in this area, his delivery style and personality added hugely to its success.”

Ramona Keogh was one of the participants on the Programme. Involved in football at all levels in Co.Kerry, Keogh found the experience very beneficial.

“The experience in football that this group had is incredible and powerful. There are amazing women in football around the country. We need them to step forward with their qualities”, Keogh told

“Personally, it’s been a great experience of learning on this journey, and to be involved on the first programme over the past year. The diversity of the group coming from all backgrounds of the game in Ireland made it very fulfilling.”

Arijana Demirovic, Head of Women’s Football Development at FIFA added: “Congratulations to all of the women completing the Programme. Increasing the representation of women in football leadership positions and decision-making bodies are important to FIFA. I’d therefore like to congratulate the FAI on their approach in leading this.

“Women will advance into leadership roles when they have organisations which are prepared to create positive development opportunities and supportive environments. It is pleasing to see this progress and we hope this is just the start of the participants’ journeys in becoming key leaders in the development of football across Ireland.”

Thomas Junod, Head of UEFA Academy continued: “Well done to all of the participants for their learning and development over the course of the past year. Football needs talented and well-trained leaders to navigate the complexities of modern football. It is a key objective of UEFA, in particular, to support the development pathway of women to become actively involved in decision making at all levels and to progress into senior leadership positions. This programme has provided a strong platform to do this and I congratulate the FAI and everyone involved in completion.”

It is hoped that a Graduation ceremony will be able to take place in-person in 2021.

Women in Football – Emerging Leaders Programme Graduates
Amanda Giles – Dublin
Amy Robinson – Mayo
Ann Marie Hayes – Tipperary
Ann Marie Stacke – Limerick
Aoife Kelliher – Cork
Barnie Juka – Dublin
Brid McGinty – Donegal
Donna Murray – Offaly
Elizabeth Mc Nevin – Kildare
Erika Ní Thuama – Cork
Erin Lynch – Galway
Fiona Doyle – Dublin
Frances Smith – Dublin
Grainne Buckley – Dublin
Holi Smith – Dublin
Jackie Kennedy – Waterford
Jeanne Casey – Carlow
Karina Browne – Dublin
Kirsten Pakes – Laois
Laura Finnegan – Waterford
Linda Sullivan – Tipperary
Marie Price-Bolger – Dublin
Maz Sweeney – Westmeath
Niamh O’Mahony – Cork
Paula O’Donnell – Cork
Rachel Gaughran – Louth
Ramona Keogh – Kerry
Sandra McAuley – Meath
Sharon Boyle – Dublin
Sinéad Ryan – Offaly
Siobhan O’Brien – Dublin
Terri Butler – Clare
Ursula Scully – Tipper