Limerick Gets Some Cheer

Ireland’s first ever cheerleading squad will take the stage from September 2010 as chief cheerers for Limerick F.C.

The collection of striking models, gymnasts, dancers and fire breathing beauties form the answer to every Irish man’s fantasy – girls and football all in the one place.

Formed a month ago in Fierce School of performing arts, they were snapped up by Melissa O’ Connor and Gary Meehan, coach and assistant manager of Fierce.

“We wanted to try something different and something that would give us a chance to work with Limerick FC. Cheerleading is very big over in America, so we wanted to try it here,” explains Gary.  

 “It’s about boosting people up,” says Melissa O’ Connor, coach and P.R manager for the squad. “Having a happy atmosphere and making it for everyone. Men in Ireland grew up not having cheerleaders. We have had great interest in it, all the other club are talking about it. Everybody is getting excited about it because they’re all so gorgeous! You can put a squad together and they’d be standing there with their pom poms but these girls are gorgeous so it really adds to it.”

But the cheerleaders are not merely eye candy for the side of the pitch. Apart from real talent, they also have more brains then you can shake a baton at.

Niamh O’ Connor, 18, is studying too: “I’m only doing my leaving cert now – I used to do gymnastics from about three until 13. I danced for a while as well so this is something I have always been interested in.”

Meanwhile, Ashling Prendergast, Gillian and Nina O’ Neill do dancing, modelling and fire breathing respectively.

“You have to be fit and dedicated,” says Nina O’ Neill – and with four rigorous training sessions a week, she’s not joking.

“They’re not your typical American cheerleaders,” explains Melissa. “They have their own style. We’re doing baton training and fire breathing so we’re bringing something new to the picture something no one has done.”

“They’re great girls from good backgrounds with good educations and they have good heads on their shoulders. They’re very talented. They’re going to show that in September – they’re going to be unbelievable! Every club seems to want to know what it is, what it’s about. They’re expecting them not to be able to do the moves. But they’re going to shock Ireland big time!”

Claire also explains that they want to fly the flag for Limerick. “We want a greater appreciation for Limerick. Get more people to the matches and everything!”

All the girls try to speak at once as they unanimously agree.

“Barcelona wanted to play Limerick in Thomond Park,” says Melissa. “That’s how good they are. We want to make sure everyone remembers how good they are – because they train hard and deserve it. I think people forget they are professional footballers.”

But she wanted to leave a message to other girls who think they might have what it takes to go head to head. “We hope it catches on. We want every team to have a cheerleading squad – then we can have competitions!” It looks like Ireland has new candidates for a few sequels of ‘Bring It On’ – let the cheering commence!  

Limerick F.C Cheerleading Squad will make their debut performance on September 3rd at the Limerick v Longford match in Jackman Park, Co. Limerick.

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