Palmer attends NIWFA event at Stormont

Denise Watson, Geraldine Smith-Rumph, councillor Jenny Palmer and Joanne Dobson MLA
Denise Watson, Geraldine Smith-Rumph, councillor Jenny Palmer and Joanne Dobson MLA

Local councillor Jenny Palmer attended a ceremony to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Northern Ireland Women’s Football Association at Stormont.

Mrs Palmer, a former player, went along with her friend Geraldine Smith, who flew in from America to attend the event. They were joined by sporting commentator Denise Watson.

Councillor Jenny Palmer, said: “As a past player, I was thrilled and excited to have been invited to the NIWFA 40 years celebration event held in the long gallery in Stormont and hosted by the Minister for Culture, Arts and Sport.

“I accompanied my lifelong friend who flew in especially from Oregon where she now lives with her husband and children, to attend this momentous event.”

Jenny played in the Murton Utd team, before its name was changed to Post Office, and the pinnacle of her career was playing on the Northern Ireland Women’s Football Team.

“The highlight of the day was meeting up with players we hadn’t seen for many years and reminiscing about their experiences on and off the pitch,” said Mrs Palmer.

“We like to think we were the trailblazers of women’s football. There were no dedicated coaching schools or marked pitches nor shower facilities.

“It was a case of turning up in your kit and getting out onto the pitch to play your game. We learned to play football out on the street with our brothers and friends and used our jumpers as goals.

“Massive improvements and sponsorship has gone into the beautiful game that ultimately benefits the young footballers of today.

“The announcement at the event that all the players who represented their country would be receiving a special International Cap in recognition next year is very special to me and the players who played alongside me in the early days of women’s football.”

The NIWFA was set up in 1976 in the Post Office Youth Club, Belfast, November 26, 1976, where Mary McVeigh was elected as the first Chair.

During the meeting the league was formed, its Constitution and rules and teams and players were recruited.