MIRIAM Forbes’ dedicated work and passion for ladies’ football has been rewarded with a new Cork LGFA county development officer role.
One of West Cork and Dohenys’ most well-known and hardworking GAA stalwarts will assume a new job title in 2020.
Forbes has accepted an invitation from the Cork LGFA county board to become one of their county development officers. It’s a smart move considering the Dunmanway GAA Club coach’s passion and reputation for her chosen sport.
Involved with no less than seven GAA inter-county, development and club teams as either a coach or mentor over the past 12 months, Forbes must now turn her focus to a new and hugely important position.
‘It is a great honour for me and I was absolutely delighted to be asked to take on the new role,’ Forbes told The Southern Star.
‘I have been the West Cork development officer for the last number of years. Having spoken to the outgoing county development officer, Eamonn O’Connor, it’s clear that this role is a hugely important one but something I cannot wait to get involved with.
‘I would like to thank the county board for considering me for the position in the first place. Please God, I will do it to the best of my ability as that’s what I always try to do, no matter what team or job I’m tasked with.’
Sensibly, Forbes assessed what was being asked of her by the county board before agreeing to take on this new challenge. The support of Forbes’ family was vital in agreeing to become a county development officer as well as realising she would have to step away from some of her many other sporting responsibilities.
‘I had to think long and hard about it when it was first approached to see if I was interested,’ Forbes admitted.
‘I’m involved with so many teams between the Dohenys U14, U15, U16 and minor ladies, the West Cork Community Games teams, the Cork U16s, Cork U13 and U15 development squads, you can see I had a hell of a lot going on!
‘I had to stop and think about the things I was already doing if I was going to take on this new job. The position requires a huge commitment and I want to be certain I can do it justice.
‘Being involved with seven teams is a bit ridiculous in terms of the amount of time they are taking up. I’ll be stepping back from a few of those once I take up the new post. I’m very lucky in that I have huge support at home from my family. I could not take on this new role without them. My husband Vinny, my two daughters Aoife and Ciara and my son Jack have supported me since day one.’
Forbes helped Dohenys claim a first West Cork ladies’ minor football title for many years at the conclusion of a successful 2019 campaign. Along with that accolade, she enhanced an already successful West Cork LGFA development programme that produced more quality players than ever from the Carbery region.
The surging growth in ladies’ football is most evident when you consider the hundreds of schoolgirls involved in not just West Cork’s U13 and U14 development programmes but a similar rise in participants across the North, East and Mid Cork equivalents over the past three years as well.
‘There is quite a lot to the role, attending meetings, organising fundamental courses, football courses and the various training camps that go on during the year,’ Forbes explained.
‘I’ll also be involved in various inter-county teams and helping out in any way I can with those. To be honest, I must sit down with the county board to go through the full details. Having said that, I already have a good idea as I’ve been around ladies’ football both at club and inter-county level for so long now.
‘Thankfully, there are already great people in place within the East, Mid and North Cork development officer roles over the last number of years. The county board has a role for each division within the county which I think is very important.
‘We (development officers) will get together and have various meetings to plan what’s coming up in terms of blitzes and other developments for the coming year immediately after Christmas. You couldn’t do the role without the help and support of the other officers to be honest. They are as passionate about ladies’ football development as I am.’
Finally, Forbes appears a perfect fit for new county development officer position considering the time, effort and importance she places on developing young female footballers.
‘I cannot emphasise enough the importance of development, it is so, so important,’ Forbes added.
‘It was only the other day I noticed that nine West Cork girls had made the Cork U14 2020 inter-county panel. Each of those girls took part in our West Cork LGFA development programme. Clearly, that (development programme) stood to those girls over the last few years. Even more encouraging is seeing the increasing numbers taking part in ladies’ football both at club and development level.
‘I was so glad we kept the West Cork development squads to specific U13 and U14 age-grades this year as it was getting increasingly difficult to handle the numbers taking part. Clubs are really starting to buy into it now which is fantastic. In the beginning, they (clubs) were a bit hesitant but now are seeing the benefit of getting girls into development programmes and how their skills are improving.
‘We are very fortunate that so many fantastic coaches are willing to give up their time as well. From a player’s point of view, the girls are making new friends and getting seen by inter-county coaches at divisional blitzes which is very important. This increases their chances of making inter-county squads.’
Forbes’ coaching and mentoring work at both club and inter-county level should easily transfer to her new Cork LGFA development officer role. Yet it is Cork’s emerging players who will benefit the most from such a dedicated individual.