The move comes after an amalgamation with Carnmoney Ladies FC, a development which follows months of preparation.
Ballyclare Comrades Ladies’ section includes two senior teams, competing in NIWFA Divisions 1 and 2, while the girls’ academy fields teams from U6 to U16, and will compete in competitions including the South Belfast Youth League Girls’ League, IFA East Antrim Girls’ Game Development Programme (GDP), IFA East Antrim Boys’ GDP, Fonacab Development Programme and the Belfast Swifts Development Programme.
The new senior sides will be managed by JP Coogan, providing continuity from his previous role at Carnmoney Ladies.
Speaking to the Comrades media team, Steven Lowry, the chair of the new women’s section, said: “When this opportunity arose to join the Comrades, it was too good of an offer to refuse. It’s a great opportunity for the club, we have such a rich history over the last 10 years.”
JP Coogan added: “Coming in to a NIFL club gives us better opportunities to progress both on and off the pitch. We now have much better facilities at Dixon Park which will hopefully help us to progress up the divisions.”
Welcoming the move, Trevor McCann, chair of the Ballyclare Comrades FC , explained: “I think it’s fantastic for Ballyclare Comrades FC. In our 102-year-history, we’ve never had a ladies’ team and so it’s great to now bring Carnmoney Ladies on board. I believe it is the correct way forward for our great club and I wish everyone involved the best of luck.”
The south Antrim side’s men’s first team manager, Paul Harbinson, commented: “It’s something we have been working on for a long time as part of the development process over the last number of years and I’m extremely excited for the club.”
Players will get to don the red of Ballyclare Comrades when the NIWFA 2022 league season begins in April.