End of an era for Irish women - July 7, 2000

The news that Mick Cooke has resigned as manager of the Irish u16, u18 and senior women's international teams closes a curtain on one of the biggest achievements in Irish football.

Mick took charge of the women's team in 1992 when they had no stature on the footballing stage but by the time he left he had delivered two trophies and a European Championship third round.

He brought the Irish senior team close to the top echelons of the women's game, capping this with a game against World Champions America in front of 35,000 spectators at the Foxboro Stadium, New Jersey.

Mick's decision for leaving the job is simple. He was finding it harder and harder to serve the team to his full potential and hold down his job as assistant manager at Shamrock Rovers. To illustrate how much work Mick was doing with the Irish girls, the FAI are appointing three managers to do the work which he did!

Mick believes he has left the Irish set-up in a great position and has no regrets from his eight years as supremo.

Mick said: "It is impossible to do both jobs and I think it is only fair that I should stand down from the women's international teams. Eight years is a long time and I feel I am leaving the teams at a time when they can be considered to be formidable opposition for any nation."

Mick's biggest achievements with the international teams were leading the u17 girls to triumph in the Gothia Cup in 1995, beating Taiwan in the final; and, the following year, winning the Dana Cup with the u18s when defeating the State of Texas in the final in America.

"Those two victories I would consider were the high points of my time with women's football and I think they reflect just how much the women's game in Ireland has progressed in recent times.

"A further sign of the improvement can be seen in the fact that some of our senior women players will be going on to play the game as full-time professionals. Already some of them have embarked to Arsenal and Fulham.

"There is no doubt the women's game is getting bigger and bigger and it needs the full attention of managers to keep pace with the growth. For that reason I would find it impossible to carry on with the women because of my involvement with Shamrock Rovers."

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