The popularity of the women's game has grown remarkably over the past 10 years, demonstrating a change in attitude and culture around the female version of the game. This is backed up by findings revealed this month that shows the number of registered girls' football teams has grown in the past decade by 15% in England.
Excuse the clumsy proverb, but the message is simple: whether the economy is up or down it's simply not enough for young people just to be exam-passing desk monkeys. Young people need to have real world smarts as well as book smarts.
For any self-respecting Irish person in London - or for any Londoner of Irish decent - this new series could be portrayed as being representative of them, and they may not like what they're about to see.
Foy Vance stands out back in the yard of the Islington Assembly Halls and rolls a cigarette. It's two hours before showtime and he's in a ruminative mood. 'When I was a kid, singing was second nature to me,' he says, as we clink bottle necks
The reality of education which sees a clear delineation between the place of learning and the place of work is unsustainable. No man is an island entire of himself. Equally, education is not an island entire of itself.
In recent times, Derry's international reputation has been defined by the sectarian conflict known as 'The Troubles'. It was here in this city that civil rights marches escalated into the street battles of the Bogside and the Bloody Sunday shootings.
My 14 year-old daughter, her best friend, a native of Co. Kildare in the Republic of Ireland, and I, are touring my hometown, Belfast, in Northern Ireland. "Do you know anything about Northern Ireland?" I ask my daughter's friend as we enter Milltown Cemetery on the Falls Road. Silence - and, unfortunately, it's not just the dead.
In my opinion, there is a serious lack of education coupled with a deliberate propagation of misinformation in the political and public sphere when it comes to women's reproductive rights in Northern Ireland.
Gibraltar is a play concerned with the military operation conducted on 6 March 1988 on Gibraltar
Ever since the Good Friday peace agreement of 1998, parties on both side of the divide have, albeit slowly, attempted to move things forward. And forward things have moved, as I explained at the start. However, a critical demographic have been left behind: the working class and the radicals within.
The outpouring of tears and justice for the victims in the south is bitter-sweet for Northern Ireland victims. They are joyful at justice for their sisters in the south, but for themselves, they fear being ignored - again. For them, there is no inquiry. No apology. No compensation scheme.
Today, it is our generation's and our governments' reputation for honour, not that of the Magdalene women, which is at stake.
It was supposed to be a day to remember in North Belfast. League leaders Cliftonville against Crusaders, their closest challengers and local rivals. A packed Seaview, filled with colleagues, friends and neighbours from across North Belfast's footballing divide, each hoping to secure local bragging rights and a step to the coveted Irish Premiership title.
Northern Ireland has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, but there's so much more to the country than its troubles. With a bit of common sense and some forward planning, there's no reason to shy away from such a beautiful country.
Call me an idealist, but people need to reflect upon their motivation, on where they get their kicks, on what is really driving them in conflict before they embark on violence with all its negative consequences for themselves and others.
Shadow Dancer, though actually filmed in part in Dublin, also brings back the voices, streets and colours of Belfast, which I remember so fondly.