Marie Curtin Interview by John O’Shea

After months of uncertainty about the return to football due to COVID-19, Marie Curtin is eager for the start of football finally.
Linting out for Limerick outfit Treaty United in the Women’s National League, Curtin also is a UEFA B Licensed coach and Limerick’s Region Manager for Coerver Coaching.
ProScout3 recently caught up with Marie to chat about her playing and coaching commitments, as well as discussing the general overall state of women’s football in Ireland and how significant a moment it would be if Ireland could qualify for the European Championships or World Cup.

Looking forward to the 2020 Women’s National League season to start?
Marie: “I’m almost eager to start now. I feel more ready now than I was pre-covid. More ready individually as I had kidney/renal problems where I was landed in hospital for 15 days back in December. I was close to sepsis so it really took it out of me. I have only been able to begin training again in February just gone. With the extra months, I’ve been able to work on getting the strength back in my body and not rushing the process as I would if we began the season in the original time. I feel good now, and going back training with Treaty United when we were allowed back, it was like we never left. Felt great to be back!”

What are the targets for Treaty United this year?
Marie: “I really dislike setting targets actually! We have done last two years and have been sorely disappointed of course! We were a brand new team in the league so we were never going to hit the ground running! I like to slow it down for my own mental preparation and take games game by game or step by step. It works for me! I like to focus on just playing hard and enjoying the game and being competitive. In the moment!!!”

How much are you enjoying your role as Limerick’s Region Manager-Coerver Coaching?
Marie: “Quite honestly, I love the Coerver stuff. I love the way we are breaking down so many moves for kids and allowing them to practice them. I like that we are teaching good habits. Using both feet in equal measure and allowing kids to have a host of footwork moves in their back pocket should they need them. We really give them the time to practice the 1v1s and the 2v2s or 3v3s. I would love to have had that type of training as a kid and the type of environments that are there because each kid gets so much time on the ball and each kid is challenged every session. It’s fantastic! It’s great to see boys & girls grow with confidence and just love something a bit different that we do. I love this type of coaching and I am looking forward to getting back to coaching in Limerick when we do.”

With things such as Women’s only UEFA B Licence course now, is the standard of female football coaching in Ireland getting better all the time ?
Marie: “I really believe so. I am very grateful for Sue Ronan-Head of Women’s Football FAI and Ruud Dokter-High Performance Director FAI for actually giving so many women coaches all across Ireland this opportunity. It pretty much ignited my own interest for coaching again. At the time, I wasn’t coaching. Work takes over. Life takes over. Since then, I got back into coaching through Coerver coaching and I loved every bit of the EUFA B licence. Niall O’Regan and the rest of the coach education crew ran such an amazing first ever Women’s only EUFA B course. I already see since our course so many female coaches getting more serious about their coaching. Hopefully it will continue to provide pathways for female coaches to just get in and enhance their coaching abilities. You really have to be actively coaching to improve, just like anything.”

Your thoughts on the Irish Women’s National Team and progress they have made?
Marie: “Amazing. I am so proud of them. I really hope the FAI continue to focus their resources on the women’s programme from grassroots to the WNL to the National Team. I think it’s plain to see when the FAI have focused more resources and investment into women’s football since 2017, it pays off. Look at the women’s soccer scene now in Ireland compared to as little as three years ago. There is plenty more the FAI can do to grow the game but things are changing thank God! I would be so delighted to see women’s soccer in Ireland to continue this upward trajectory.”

How significant for women’s football would it be for Ireland to qualify for the EUROS or a World Cup in the near future?
Marie: “When they break that barrier and get into the Euros or a World Cup it will be like the Jack Charlton days! It will bring such hype to the country. It will mean each squad player will nearly be a household name. The interest for our women’s team will grow so much and it will bring so much hope and inspiration to young kids. I am really looking forward to this day!”