Category: WNT

Youth Introduction to Softball Session announced for May 29, 2021

Fastpitch (Softball) Ireland in association with Baseball Ireland are delighted to announce an Introduction to Softball Session for girls aged between 12 and 16. The session will be held on Saturday, May 29, 2021, from 12 Noon in the International Baseball Centre which is located behind the Community Centre in Ashbourne.

The session will be hosted by the Irish Women’s National Team Head Coach Melanie Cunningham together with other National Team Coaches focussing on introducing players to Softball and teaching some basic skills.

Speaking on the planned day, Melanie Cunningham said ” The aim of the session is to show an alternative pathway for girls to continue in sport and to hopefully introduce new girls to our sport. We are excited to introduce girls to this fun Olympic sport and we are hoping that we get a great turnout on the day, everybody is welcome!”

Fastpitch Ireland will provide players with all equipment required on the day. The session will be run in accordance with COVID-19 Sporting Conditions.

If you have any questions about the session, please do not hesitate to contact Melanie Cunningham or Colum Lavery.

Return of Softball Confirmed

Further to the confirmation of the Government that sports clubs in the Republic of Ireland may return to training in groups of up to 15 from May 10, 2021. Softball Ireland confirmed that having considered the recommendation of the Medical Committee, the Softball Ireland Board have confirmed that softball training may return in Republic of Ireland from May 10, 2021 subject to the following conditions:


(I) The Government continue to permit sports teams to partake in training sessions; and
(II) All teams in the Republic of Ireland to continue to train in accordance with Government advice and restrictions; and
(III) All training sessions are held in accordance with the updated Softball Ireland Return to Play Protocol set out on the Softball Ireland website; and
(IV) Players are only permitted to attend and train with teams (clubs) they are registered with.

Fastpitch Ireland will be in touch with members shortly on the relaunch of training and the FPI League.

Updated COVID-19 Resource Hub

Softball Ireland updated the COVID-19 Hub in advance of the 2021 season. The COVID-19 Hub is accessible from the ‘Resources’ tab above or by clicking here.

The latest updates to the COVID-19 Hub include:

  • Updated Return to Play Policy for 2021
  • A Risk Assessment Template that can be used and modified by the teams
  • A Risk Assessment Guidance Document to explain how to risk assess your team’s activities / venues
  • A status table outlining what events can happen where

The COVID-19 Hub will be updated regularly throughout the season, including document updates and FAQs. If there is anything you would like to see on the hub, please get in touch with us.

For all COVID-19 enquiries, Softball Ireland continue to have a dedicated email: covid@softball.ie.

COVID-19 Resource Hub

The COVID-19 Resource Hub has now been updated for the 2021 season. The COVID-19 Hub is accessible from the ‘Resources’ tab above or by clicking here.

The latest updates to the COVID-19 Hub include:

  • Updated Return to Play Policy for 2021
  • A Risk Assessment Template that can be used and modified by the teams
  • A Risk Assessment Guidance Document to explain how to risk assess your team’s activities / venues
  • A status table outlining what events can happen where

The COVID-19 Hub will be updated regularly throughout the season, including document updates and FAQs. If there is anything you would like to see on the hub, please get in touch with us.

Due to government restrictions, please note that teams in the Republic of Ireland continue to be restricted from training or playing games and the insurance policy remains suspended.

For all COVID-19 enquiries, Softball Ireland continue to have a dedicated email: covid@softball.ie.

Ireland Softball Green Logo

Team Ireland withdraw from 2021 international competition due to COVID

Further to the recommendation of the Softball Ireland Medical Committee, the Softball Ireland Board on March 15, 2021 agreed to withdraw all Softball Ireland National Teams and Club Teams from International Competition up to and including August 2021. The decision of the Board is athlete welfare driven to ensure those representing Ireland may do so in the safest way possible

The rationale for the recommendation of the Softball Ireland Medical Committee and the decision of our Board is as follows:

1. Ireland continues to be in a Level 5 (highest level) lock down which restricts movement and does not permit sport to be played bar for a very l imited number of sports. Softball (and Baseball) does not meet the criteria of elite sport in Ireland. At this point, we do not foresee Softball recommencing in Ireland before May 2021 earliest and therefore do not believe our athletes can be adequately conditioned or prepared to participate in an international tournament.

2. The continued spiking of COVID -19 across Europe together with the inconsistent vaccination roll out (including Ireland) has concerned our Medical Committee who formed the opinion that the risk of inf ection and the subsequent 14 day quarantining of infected player/staff continued to be too high a risk for amateur athletes. The concerns of the Medical Committee have been reconfirmed by the recent snap lockdowns in Italy and other European Countries coupled with the positive tests of an Irish athlete returning from the recent European Indoor Championships in Poland.

3. The on-going uncertainty around travel restrictions for athletes entering and exiting Italy, irrespective of nationality and the financial risk s associated with this.

4. In addition to the medical and logistical risks identified by the Medical Committee, the Irish government has also introduced a €2,000 travel fine ( per person) for non-essential International travel. We have been advised that travelling to compete in Softball European Championships does not meet the requirements to be deemed essential travel.

The decision to withdraw from international competition in 2021 was not a decision taken lightly by the Softball Ireland Board. However after discussions with the Medical Committee, HSE, coaches and athletes, the Softball Ireland Board has taken the position that our decisions would be taken with an abundance of caution and medically led by our Medical Committee.

Softball Ireland can confirm that the following teams have been withdrawn from 2021 events:
• Ireland National Team withdrawn from the Women’s European Championships 2021

• Ireland National Team withdrawn from the Co- ed Slowpitch European Championships 2021

• Dodder Softball Club withdrawn from the Co- Ed Slowpitch Super Cup 2021

IWD2021 Player Profile – Eithne Walsh

Name: Eithne Walsh 
Age: 22
Hometown: Ogonnelloe, County Clare 
College: National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG)

Why do you think continuing in sport is important for women after school?
Continuing to play sports is very important for everyone after school. There are countless benefits associated with taking part in exercise- both mentally and physically. As Elle Woods iconically said in the movie ‘Legally Blonde’, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy”. With group sports just like softball, there is also a social aspect related with it. Participating in training and games supplies the opportunity to make new circles of friends, and to catch up with teammates.

What could be done to encourage more women to keep playing sport after school?
I strongly believe in the 20×20 women in sport campaign, where their slogan is “If she can’t see it, she can’t be it”. By providing young girls in sport with strong role models, it lets them see that they too can put their heads down and work hard to become great within their respective sports 

What does playing Softball for Ireland mean to to you?
Describing how much it means to me to have the opportunity to represent my country is something I cant really put into words. But thats what it is, representing my country in a sport I love, and with teammates who have become my family. Putting on that green jersey and competing against other nations is bigger than an individual, a team or even the competition itself, its about competing to the best of your ability and proudly representing your country. 

IWD2021 Player Profile – Caitlyne De Lange

Name: Caitlyne de Lange
Age: 21
Hometown: Co.Meath, Ireland
College: Hanze university of applied science

Why do you think continuing in sport is important for women after school?
I think it’s important to continue sport after school because it improves women’s confidence and self esteem it also gives you amazing new memories with life long friends.

What could be done to encourage more women to keep playing sport after school?
There could be more promotion targeted at women who have played or want to play the sport and there could be open days held to show them there is no discrimination in the sport.

What does playing Softball for Ireland mean to to you?
Playing for Ireland for me means immense pride not only for the country but the team as well and how far we have come together and have now become a family, we not only play for the flag on our shirt but for each other to do the best we can.

IWD2021 Player Profile – Sinead O’Leary

Name: Sinead O’Leary
Age: 22
Hometown: Ballina
College: University of Limerick

Why do you think continuing in sport is important for women after school?

I think continuing in sport after school is extremely important. Not only is it amazing for your mental health, it also teaches you determination, commitment and team work qualities that will be useful for life.

What could be done to encourage more women to keep playing sport after school?

We need to keep pushing young girls to stick with their sports after school and teach them the importance of sport in ones life. Sport can open so many opportunities and provide friendships for life.

What does playing Softball for Ireland mean to to you?

I have made so many lifelong friends through playing softball with Ireland. We have so much fun on and off the field while still getting work done. Softball Ireland has provided me with many opportunities.

IWD2021 Player Profile – Maeve Og O’Leary

Name: Maeve Og O’Leary
Age: 21
Home Town: Ballina Co. Tipperary
Profile: Dublin City University

Why do you think continuing in sport is important for women after school?

I think it’s important for young women to stay involved in sport after school for a number of reasons. Not only does it keep us fit, healthy and motivated but it helps us develop over all as people, teaching us skills and qualities for life.

What could be done to encourage more women to keep playing sport after school?

I think a better education surrounding the benefits of sports, knowledge around nutrition and less of a stigma surrounding women and young girls in sport would help keep younger girls playing sport but massive moves are being made to help all of these things.

What does playing Softball for Ireland mean to to you?

Playing for Ireland Softball has being an absolute privelidge and honour. I am so Proud to be able to wear the Irish flag on my back and it has given me amazing opportunities, allowing me to meet so many amazing people along the way. So far it has been unreal and I can’t wait to continue my journey.

Under-19 Women's National Team 2019

International Women’s Day – Play Like a Girl

The aim of International Women’s day is to open a conversation about what each of us can do to challenge the status quo to ensure gender-balance across all aspects of society. International Women’s Day also celebrates the achievements of Women in society.

Fastpitch Ireland are today clebrating the strong Women of our programme who show leadership, skill and dedication to be the best at their sport and showing that we all wish we can play and throw like a girl.

#ChooseToChallenge norms!

Credits and many thanks to Eithne Walsh and Josh O’ Leary (JOSSLE) for the amamzing video.

Italian Coach Enrico Obletter has passed away

Fastpitch Ireland are saddened to learn of the death of the Italian National team head coach Enrico Obletter.

Enrico will be remembered as a great coach and even better person and will be dearly missed by everyone in Softball and by us in Fastpitch Ireland.

The thoughts of everybody in Fastpitch Ireland are with Enrico’s wife Giovanna, his family, his players and FIBS at this difficult time.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Link to FIBS Release

Safeguarding and Fastpitch Ireland

Fastpitch Ireland as a discipline of Softball Ireland have ratified the approval and addoption of the Softball Ireland Safeguarding Policy.

The Safeguarding tab under resources will take to you to the Safeguarding Hub, on this page you will find the Fastpitch Irleand (as a discipline of Softball Ireland) Safeguarding Policies (published 21st January 2021) and all the supporting documentation to keep children and young people safe while playing all disciplines of the sport of softball.

The creation of these policies have been mandated in law, so all clubs, regions and discipines in Ireland are required to familiarise themselves with the Safeguarding Policies and follow the guidance laid out within it.

Any safeguarding issues or concerns can be directed to our National Children’s Officer by emailing safeguarding@softball.ie.

Signed
Melanie Cunningham
Director of Fastpitch