If the cap fits...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

If the cap fits... thumbnailThe three former NI ladies football colleagues pictured with Dame Mary Peters at a reception in the Pat Jennings suite at the International Stadium. Included are, from left: Jenny Gaston, now Duncan, Dame Mary Peters who presented the caps, Barbara Camero

A FORMER NI ladies footballer has been presented with her international cap - some 30 years after playing her last match.
Patricia Rohdich was one of a number of ladies recognised by football's governing body at a gala dinner at Windsor Park, attended by the manager of the England Ladies national side, Hope Powell, and Alfie Wylie, manager of the NI Ladies team.
A hairdresser at Mountsandel Hair Salon in Coleraine, Patricia McAleese, as she was then, was one of three girls from the Ballymoney based Sparta Ladies selected to represent Northern Ireland on a tour of the United States in 1981.
The touring party, dubbed the NI All Stars, flew in to Vancouver in Canada before travelling down the west coast of America, playing games along the way at the invitation of an American team named the Thunderbirds.
“The NI squad was picked from all the local leagues and we were called the NI All Stars," recalled Patricia, now a 56-year-old mum of two.
“I was 18 and we travelled down the west coast of America. It was absolutely brilliant. We were away for a couple of weeks, travelling down the Rockies into California and it was a great time."
Memories from that era were shared at the recent reunion in Belfast when the 'Class of '81' were rightly recognised as being trailblazers for the women's game here.
“Back then at the start of the Eighties it was all about Bingy and the boys," she laughed. "Ladies football wasn't recognised at all then so I suppose we were trailblazers in a way.
*Read the full story in this week's Chronicle


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