Parents - It's never too late to educate

Mon, Dec 09 2019

None Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

‘Just enough education to perform’ sang Welsh crooners The Stereophonics at the turn of the century. But what if they wanted to perform better? To catch up with the Joneses so to speak? What would they do?

One would expect the best sources of information would come from fellow Welsh singers, Joneses in fact. Listening to messer’s Alex and Tom discuss the realities of musical superstardom and how to handle the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortune which comes from such a life would be a good place to start.

And how exactly does this link to you- most likely a League of Ireland supporter for whom a random Welsh band means very little? In this country we tend to use phrases like, 'Ah sure I know enough to get by', or 'I don’t know a whole lot about it but...’ Hasn’t the past week taught us that there are things we really should know?

As a parent, making decisions about your child’s future in Irish football, is it enough to rely on the opinions of others? Do you think you know enough to feel fully informed to help your child charter the choppy waters of the Underage League of Ireland pathway?

If, as the majority of parents, you want to find out more, in order to make a more informed decision then the inaugural Irish Soccer Parents Conference could be for you.

Held in DCU and commencing at 10am on Saturday 14th December, it is the brainchild of the multi experienced Stephen Finn (former Shelbourne FC Academy coach, worked with ROI Underage squads, journalist and futsal aficionado) and a group of researchers, football coaches and player development officers, and has a wide variety of speakers designed to give a broad range of information across the structure of the Academy setup and the child’s pathway to an adult career including:

Former Republic of Ireland internationals Gareth Farrelly and Aine O Gorman

Performance Coach Dr Aine MacNamara

Southampton FC's Ian Herding (Performance, Education and Life Skills Officer)

Dr Vincent O Flaherty from IRUPA

Ex Sunderland pro Kieron Brady

Time Coach Ian Byrne

Longford Town Academy's Denis O Brien

Research from Stephen Finn and Tom O Connor.

Speaking exclusively with, Finn explained how he felt there was a real need for such an event for parents to be able to arm themselves with as much information as possible in order to help them to support their children's career from both a sporting and education viewpoint.

Referencing the League of Ireland, from his previous position as Shelbourne under-17 manager and formerly of underage sides at St Francis, Rangers and Belvedere, Finn believes the recent emergence of the underage leagues is a very positive step.

“The emergence of the national league has meant that there now isn’t a rush to the bright lights. In the old days it was all about scouts and trials, now the under-17s are close enough to completing their Leaving Certificate.

“Of the 45 players who received international caps during Trapattoni’s last two years of managing the national side and Martin O’Neill’s first, approximately a similar number left Ireland before completing their Leaving Certificate (16) as those after completing their Leaving Certificate (14).

“Therefore, why would you take the risk of leaving school and the country when the chances are pretty much the same as if you stay and complete your studies?”

A pretty compelling argument from a man who has coached, managed and advised many players over the years, as well as worked at the coalface of Irish football, both with the Irish Daily Star and the FAI in his role as Communications Executive, while also being instrumental in the development of futsal throughout Ireland.

Continuous education is a mantra he applies to his own life. “I still want to keep learning. I’d rather know things than have things,” he says, and this is evidenced by the fact that he recently graduated with a BA in Humanities (Psychology Major) at DCU.

Are you happy to give yourself enough education to perform as a parent or would you like to educate yourself enough to be a parent who performs excellently in the role of a supportive influence for your child?

For tickets click:


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