At the Leinster Football Association 129th Annual General Meeting taking place this morning in the FAI Headquarters Karen Hickey (Asst Secretary and Treasurer of the KDFL) will become the first KDFL member to be appointed to the LFA Executive.
This is a momentous occasion for the KDFL and Karen as she will become not only the first KDFL member to be appointed to a position on the Executive but also the first female to be appointed to the Executive since the formation of the Association in 1892 (131 years).
The LFA was founded on 27 October 1892 at a meeting in the Wicklow Hotel on Exchequer Street, Dublin. Representatives of five football clubs – Dublin University, Bohemians, Leinster Nomads, Montpelier and St. Helen's School – attended the meeting. Shortly after the LFA became affiliated to the Irish Football Association who promptly donated £50 to the new association. The LFA soon organized their own cup competition, the Leinster Senior Cup which was first played for in 1892–93.
However, during the 1900s and 1910s relations between the LFA and the IFA gradually began to deteriorate. Neal Garnham identifies four main areas that contributed to this. These included disputes over the gate money from Irish Cup games, most notably after the 1908 Irish Cup final between Bohemians and Shelbourne. There were also disagreements when it came to organizing British Home Championship games. The LFA accused the IFA of favouring Belfast over Dublin, both with the selection of players and choice of match venue for Ireland games. The LFA also favoured playing games on Sundays while the IFA were opposed to this idea. In addition the LFA were staunch advocates of amateur and junior football while in contrast the IFA was focused predominantly on the professional and senior game.
As a result of the disruption caused by the First World War and then the Irish War of Independence, the two bodies were effectively separated from 1915 onwards. The Irish Football League was suspended between 1915 and 1918 and the senior teams of both Bohemians and Shelbourne competed in the Leinster Senior League while their northern counterparts competed in the Belfast & District League. The 1919–20 and 1920–21 seasons saw a brief return to some all-Ireland competitions. However, in February 1921 an incident involving the waving of the Irish Tricolour, the flag of the Irish Republic, during an international between Ireland and France served only to push the two associations further apart. During the Irish War of Independence teams from Belfast and Dublin also grew increasingly reluctant to visit the other city. In March 1921 Shelbourne and Glenavon met in the 1920–21 Irish Cup semi-final. After a scoreless draw was played out at a neutral ground in Belfast, the replay was due to be played in Dublin. However, when the Glenavon players expressed concerns about travelling south, the IFA requested that Shelbourne return to Belfast. However Shelbourne refused and received the backing of the LFA. This episode led directly to the LFA deciding to disaffiliate from the IFA. This decision was confirmed at a meeting on 8 June 1921. In September 1921, the LFA and the new League of Ireland subsequently founded the Football Association of Ireland.
Karen has been involved in association football for the past 21 years, initially joining the Executive of Bridge United FC in Athy in 2002 due to her Father Ger’s involvement. She held the posts of Secretary and Treasurer of the Club. She joined the Executive of the KDFL in 2010 and the following year went on to form the girls and womens teams within Bridge United where they enjoyed great success in the KDFL and KDUL. In 2020 Karen was appointed a KDFL Representative on the Leinster Football Association Senior Council together with her colleague Regina Casey and has been an active member of the Association since. She regularly attends Council meetings and takes a full and active part in proceedings. More recently being appointed to their Rules Revision Committee.
Karen’s appointment reflects the hard work and commitment she has given to the game over the last two decades. We wish her well in her tenure on the Executive where she will be actively involved in the running of the Association.
Well done Karen, we are very proud of your achievement.