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The island of Ireland is quite unique in its dynamic due, in part, to the geographical and political separation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Historically, the Island of Ireland had one governing body for association football. Currently, the Irish Football Association (IFA) governs Northern Ireland while the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) governs the Republic of Ireland in the south. Interestingly, not all sports (e.g., Irish Rugby Football Union) on the Island of Ireland have separate Governing Bodies. This paper provides a brief historical overview of this separation between the FAI and IFA. Following this, we explore the history of coach education in the FAI and an overview of the FAI Player Development Plan. Then, we explore how coach education was, and is currently, structured with particular focus on recent improvements in terms of how coach education courses are delivered and assessed. The final section provides a brief overview of the future of coach education within the FAI.
Niall O’Regan is with the University College Cork National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland. Seamus Kelly is with the University College Dublin, UCD Institute for Sport & Health, Dublin, Ireland.