Ciaran Duffy founded the project in 2014. Ciaran is 40 years old and father to a girl aged 7 and boy aged 5. He is steeped in top level soccer from a young age and a passionate advocate of the benefits sport can have on child development. He is an experienced coach of children aged 4-10, many of whom live in north inner city Dublin. As he coached his own daughter Emma alongside a vast majority of boys, it was apparent to him that, in disadvantaged areas there are very limited opportunities for young girls to participate in sport. This is at a point in childhood when they will try anything and many will form the habit of returning each week as long as they are having fun.
Always, the number 1 reason children play sport is to have fun. As coaches, we must facilitate this but also understand we can crucially provide children under the age of 10 with the fundamental movement skills that are essential to a life-long, fulfilling participation in any sport or physical activity. Coaching Ireland’s Lifetime Involvement in Sport and Physical Activity (LISPA) framework defines the age of 5-8 as the FUNdamental phase as it can provide the foundation of physical literacy which is much broader than sports participation and empowers children in such a way that physical activity becomes integral to their lifes.
Ciaran understands the many barriers to young girls participating in regular sport in their own community and in 2014 established Fun Direction in East Wall partly to demonstrate how we can overcome many of these barriers with the right organisational and coaching mindset. He believes sporting opportunities should be available to all children, regardless of locality, means or gender.
With the support of the Camogie Association, Ciaran is also now qualified and equipped to coach Camogie on the project as well as soccer.