Charlie Lynch will be familiar to all Cork City WFC fans, as the coach took charge of the first team last season and rebuilt the team from the ground up after the difficult campaign in 2013/2014, however he has been involved with football most of his life.
“In the men’s game I’ve coached or managed at all levels from under six all the way up to Munster Senior League and League of Ireland U21 at Cobh Ramblers," said Lynch.
"I moved towards the women’s game in 2007 and have managed a wide-range of levels from U11 to senior, as well as the Cork inter league teams at U14, U15 & U16.”
After last year, Charlie took on a new role with the club coming on board as Head of Youth Development and Head Coach for the U18 academy for Cork to not only help develop the club, but also provide a pathway for improvement of the youth players in Munster.
“The Academy was set-up with two main aims: the first was to help to stem the flow of girls in the U18 age group leaving the game, and the second was to see if we could develop players who would eventually step up to the National League side," he said.
"We ran this on a pilot basis for 12 weeks and it proved very popular with 18 girls from clubs in Cork, Limerick & Tipperary. A lot of the players saw real benefit and a number have stepped up to playing at a National League level this season.
"We have now started our first full year this year and the interest has really expanded – we currently have 26 girls from Cork & Limerick this season. Already it is obvious that we have players with great potential and the attitude from all the players has been excellent so far this year so we’re delighted with the group who has come on board.”
Lynch doesn’t just want to give the players to develop technically, seeing a full-rounded approach as best to helping girls achieve their full potential in football.
“Our plans for this year included stepping beyond just the technical & tactical by introducing strength & conditioning assessment, nutritional advise and the recording of rest & exercise outside of the weekly training session coupled to ongoing assessment and regular discussions on strengthening the mental approach to football. It is important that players get access to everything they need to achieve in football here," he stated.
The Academy has already borne fruit from last year with a player like Kate O’Donovan who has signed for Cork stepping up to a National League level.
“The academy links with the senior team are in there early stages but already we are promoting the senior team by gearing our programme to show girls who wish to step up, what it will take," said Lynch.
"We constantly remind the girls that we are all part of the same club and urge them to support the team when they are playing at home. The introduction of the senior team Captain, Ciara McNamara, as one of the academy coaches also helps to strengthen the link. It is also proposed that the academy will play friendly games against the seniors later in the programme.”
However, Lynch sees big potential for everyone in the game from the program: “First of all we want to see the Academy have a great first season with every player showing a big improvement in the standard of play, but we hope this will lead in turn to increased membership in future and we can look at expanding the Academy further.
"Presently we have a limit to the number of players we can bring in but providing further age groups with proper technical development plans should see the standard of play in Cork rise. One of the main aims of the academy is to help to keep girls of the U18 age group in football.
"Not all players who come to the academy will want to go on to National League for a number of reasons but the extra training they get with us will help them to improve as club players and also remain in the game where they will help maintain the future of their clubs and the league.
"The potential for helping to develop the younger players who will be part of Gaynor cup squads is also huge and will hopefully give the local league a stronger squad to represent them.”