Mapping Irish Football, Get Involved!

This is a call for all football historians that may have come across references to Irish women’s football of any code prior to 1973. Women’s football governing bodies were established in Ireland from 1973 onwards. However, there is little known about the history and development of women’s football in Ireland. This project is calling on the crowd to share any newspaper references they may have come across prior to 1973.

Project update

Since its launch in January 2019, there have been over 80 responses to the call for nominations spanning the various codes of football. But there is still lots more to add and we need your nominations.

The earliest reference to women’s football in the Irish media was on 10/05/1881 in the Belfast Evening Telegraph, in an article entitled ‘What next?’ they commented on a women’s football match played in Edinburgh. The first report of women playing any code of football uncovered so far was an exhibition match by the British Ladies’ Football Club at Cliftonville, Belfast, on 19 June 1895. On 22/06/1896 there was a report of match between a women’s team and a men’s team at Lurgan, County Armagh, in front of spectators largely composed of women. This could possibly be the first record of Irish women playing soccer.

So far there have been nominations related to soccer, Gaelic football and indoor football but was there any rugby reports in the newspapers that mention Irish women before 1973?

Code of football Nominated June 2019Type of publications in Nominations June 2019

How the data will be shared

Each newspaper reference will be marked on the map with the details supplied by the nominator and will include the name of the person(s) who nominated that reference. The red tag on the maps indicate the place the newspapers were published while the yellow tag indicates were the match took place. All the nominations will be made open access and can reused by any researchers interested in the data under a Creative Commons Licence.

The raw data of nominations up until June 2019 can be viewed here.

You can view a sample of how the final version of the data will appear here.

Ireland and UK Map of Nominations June 2019World Map of Nominations June 2019

How to get involved

You can nominate the newspaper references you have here.

The nomination form will be open until December 31, 2019. After it closes the data will be cleaned up and published on an online map by place of newspaper publication as well as the place where matches took place.

What to nominate

We are interested in any references to women’s football or female involvement in men’s football on the island of Ireland from any newspaper even if it was published outside Ireland. This includes women attending football matches, being involved in the running of a team as well as playing any code of football such as soccer or Gaelic etc.


It is hoped that this project will start a conversation amongst researchers interested in Irish sports to do more to document the history and development of women’s football. Women’s football of any code only started to become popular in Ireland from the mid 1960’s onwards, but very little is known of what went before. By collaborating through this public form, we can start to piece together the knowledge that exists within the research community and identify where the gaps in our knowledge lie.


If you have any questions about this project you can get in touch by emailing:

footballmapping @



Helena Byrne (@HBee2015)

Martin J Moore (@Crusaders1898)

Stuart Gibbs (@Toad68)

Michael Kielty (@MickKielty)

Gerard Farrell (@gerrytastic)


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