Emer Flatley Interview by Eoin Donovan

The west is awake as a production line of Irish football talent and at the forefront of this is Galway Women’s FC assistant coach Emer Flatley.

The former Republic of Ireland international, who played in the Women’s Champions League in 2009 with Galway Women’s, has enjoyed great successes at her hometown club. This includes winning the u17 league and cup double last year with the Maroon Army.

Emer: “I have been Galway Women’s FC U17 assistant manager for the last two years,” she told Pro-Scout 3, “After moving back to Ireland 3 years ago from the United States I had the opportunity to get involved locally with the newly developed u17 team in Galway.”

Emer: “The opportunity to coach girls from not only Galway but from all provinces has been incredible. Reaching the League final in our first year and losing out to a fantastic Shels team and then doing the double last year has to be one of the main highlights. Some of the talent I’ve seen though throughout the U17 league in the last two years is phenomenal. It’ll be exciting to hopefully see the progression to a U19 league at some point, to bridge that gap to senior level also.”

For the last four months, Flatley has been learning to work with her squads through the COVID-19 shutdown, a task she saw through easily.

Emer: “We were constantly engaging with the girls with some at-home fitness and soccer exercises to keep them ticking over. But as we realized the progression of lockdown was going to be extended we began weekly Zoom quiz nights with them. They then developed their own ideas for zoom calls like yoga sessions and cooking classes. It was hilarious but also provided a new version of team bonding. The girls enjoyed it anyway I think.”

Emer: “I can’t wait to have football back. It’ll be great to have some sense of normality back but also a structured schedule. Having been out of training the last few months it’ll be nice to have our 3-4 sessions a week with the players back and games on the weekends. Fingers crossed it’ll all go ahead safely, and we can enjoy the next few months of training and matches.”

In addition to her work with Galway Women’s FC Flatley also manages the NUI Galway senior women’s team.

Emer: “I was asked to step into the role in 2018 and to be honest, it was a big change coming from the college game in the United States to home,” she said.

Emer: “In my first year we won the Lydon Cup in Belfast but unfortunately this year the tournament understandably had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. Over the last two years, it has been our goal to increase the numbers playing soccer in the college both at the elite and recreational level while also forming links with Galway Women’s FC.”

Emer: “Last year we had 4 players represent Ireland in the World University Games in Naples, Italy. It’s a huge credit to themselves and great representation for NUIG, to be honest for these girls to have gone abroad and represented the University so well.”