Donegal Partnership Women in Sports Leadership Programme

Applications are now being taken for Donegal Sports Partnership’s programme aimed at increasing women’s participation in sport Donegal.  

The Beyond 20x 20 – Women in Sports Leadership Programme forms part of the national 20 x 20 campaign, and is open to females aged 16 and over with a passion, commitment and genuine interest in sport at all levels.

The course will be delivered over eight months, starting in October and concluding in May 2022.The core strands of the programme are leadership, confidence, resilience, mental health and wellbeing, and disability and inclusion, while the personal strands are administration, coaching, media/PR and officiating.

Launch of the Beyond 20x 20

 Maggie Farrelly is Education and Training Coordinator with Donegal Sports Partnership’s North West Sporting Pathways Programme and is responsible for coordinating the female leadership programme. “Donegal Sports Partnership is aiming to recruit 15 participants for our Beyond 20 x 20 – Women in Sports Leadership Programme. We are looking for females from different sports to join our programme. These females will have a genuine interest in sport and intentions of becoming a future leader or role model within their sport or club – whether that’s in coaching, officiating, or taking on an administration or PR role within their club,” she added.

“It’s our aim for like-minded people to come together to share their ideas and experiences, and to learn from each other in a nurturing and supportive environment, Commitment and engagement from all participants are the key components of making this programme successful, not only on a personal level but collectively as a group. We are asking participants to give their full commitment and engage throughout the eight months to the best of their ability,” she added.

“This time we are charging participants. The cost will be €80, with a €30 registration fee payable once the participants are selected and accept their place on the programme. All workshops delivered are free of charge to participants and they will be presented with a certificate when they complete the programme. The first programme was delivered as a pilot programme and it was extremely successful, with 13 out 14 participants completing the programme. All involved have since taken on active roles within their sports and clubs. We hope that this new programme will be as successful,” the coordinator added.

Donegal Sports Partnership

Catriona Sweeney from Burt GAA Club and Milford AC’s Nancy McNamee completed Donegal’s Sports Partnership’s first female leadership programme earlier this year. Both enjoyed the experience.”We started a senior ladies team at Burt GAA Club. I had coached underage for 15 years but had never been involved in a senior panel. I wanted that experience and guidance on strategic planning, as opposed to the fundamental development of the children, and I got that from the programme,”

Catriona said. “I make great friendships and linked in with other clubs in other sports and other codes. Primarily what I got from the course was how to coach better. The experts that were brought in to deliver the different modules were amazing,” she added.

Nancy McNamee was also full of praise for the initiative. “The course was really worthwhile. My main interest was in coaching an PR and media and the programme helped me greatly in these areas,” she said. "We signed up for it pre-Covid and it was a little bit daunting starting out on Zoom. I did the coaching and a lot of theory on the coaching. I have since had the chance to do the practical part and have also completed another course with Athletics Ireland.

”As PRO I would have much more confidence in the role now following the course. There was plenty of networking and my list of contacts grew during and since the course,” Nancy added.

The 20 x 20 campaign has three objectives – a 20 per cent increase in media coverage of women in sport, a 20 per cent increase in female participation at all levels of sport and a 20 per cent increase in attendance at women’s games and events.For further information on Donegal Sports Partnership’s programme aimed at increasing women’s participation in sport Donegal, contact Maggie Farrelly on 086 6069377 or email

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