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‘How do I get out of here? What do I do? Do I give him a kick?’ — How some international players believe they were targeted by Ireland manager Mick Cooke

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In the 1990s, Irish women’s football was ‘an afterthought’ for the FAI. But what almost nobody knew was that young players with big ambitions had their careers derailed and their lives damaged by coaches’ highly inappropriate behaviour. This is their story

Jackie McCarthy-O’Brien, the first black woman to play for Ireland, says she had an encounter with Mick Cooke that she believes brought about the end of her international career. Photo: Mark Condren

Mark Tighe and Marie Crowe

When The Late Late Show hosted a special on Irish soccer in May 2022 to celebrate the Football Association of Ireland’s (FAI) centenary, host Ryan Tubridy was joined by guests including President Michael D Higgins and former international players from the Jack Charlton era.

On air, the President gave commemorative medals to Packie Bonner, Shay Given, David O’Leary, Niall Quinn and two former women internationals, Paula Gorham and Olivia O’Toole.

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