Netball is a fast moving, highly skilful and competitive sport which is played predominantly by women and girls. The sport is played in over 70 countries worldwide and has been played in Ireland since the early 1960’s.
Netball Ireland is the national governing body for netball in Ireland and is responsible for all aspects of netball in Ireland including organising competition and training events, operating international Open and Youth netball squads and promoting and developing the sport in general across Ireland. Netball Ireland has been affiliated to the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) and Netball Europe since 1976.
Netball Ireland organises competitive netball competition for clubs and schools across Ireland, as well as social mixed netball competition in the summer months. Netball Ireland leagues currently operate in Dublin although there have previously been leagues operating in Cork and Limerick. Netball Ireland operates the Republic of Ireland international netball squads at Open and Youth age groups. The Republic of Ireland’s highest ranking at international competition was in 1991 where they finished 10th at the IFNA World Netball Championships. In addition Netball Ireland organises formal training of umpires and coaches to gain European accreditation.
Following the introduction of netball in England, the game eventually crossed over the Irish Sea and into the Republic of Ireland in the 1940’s. It was not until 1961 that two Physical Education teachers (one of them Ms Dorothie Malone, a former President of the Association) set about organising the game in a more formal manner. Together, they initiated a provincial school’s association – The Leinster Netball Association. During the next 10 years, the Association expanded to include all secondary school age groups (12 – 18 years of age). In 1973 netball clubs were established to cater for the growing interest of school leavers playing the game. Twelve clubs were set up to cater for this group of people. Netball Ireland first applied for full membership to the International Federation of Netball Associations in 1974 and was accepted as full members of IFNA in 1976. Since then the Ireland have been involved in a rota of International matches with Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Malta and Gibraltar. Netball has been represented in the Republic of Ireland at four different age groups; Open, U21, U19 and U17.