Emily is so committed to netball in Fishguard and across our county

Emily delivering Christmas hampers

Junior Netball in Pembrokeshire is very much alive and throwing a ball through a hoop as there are competitions at under 12, 14 and 16 levels which are played on a weekly basis indoors at this time of the year – and the results, most valued players and team pictures are supplied to grateful outlets like PembrokeshireSport.co.uk by Emily O’Connor.
Emily hails from Fishguard and in her time she has been a keen participant in hockey, football, swimming and, of course, netball, and although she doesn’t play at the moment she takes on an even more vital role because as well as being an excellent press officer she coaches the three age groups at the Fishguard Club with Rhian Homer, as well as being heavily involved as a coach with the ladies’ team at the club, which was restarted last year.

Played as a youngster – and in university too

In her own playing days Emily was a goal attack, firstly in junior school with Mrs Williams and then at Ysgol Bro Gwaun with Sioned Page-Jones and when she went to Cardiff Met University to take her degree she played socially, rather than in one of the competitive teams there, before completing her PGCE Studies to qualify as a teacher in Somerset.
“I now teach years five and six at Ysgol Glannau Gwaun and so can recruit players at just the right age to start out with our club and we have strength in depth in all the age groups – and have now mastered the problem of what teenage girls can do when they get too old for under 16s netball because we have started out ladies’ team again.
“We have had a great take up since we got going again at the end of September 2021 because we could use some of last season’s under 16s alongside some older players coming back so that we have about ten players training every week – and with all bar two of this year’s under 16s available we could actually have two ladies’ teams next year.
Emily glad to be back at netball with Rhian Homer

Lots of netball played

“We train on Monday evenings, with the seniors there at 7pm and the juniors an hour later. The ladies play their games on Wednesday evening and the junior teams come to Haverfordwest every Saturday from 9am to 3pm to play at Ysgol Caer Elen so the court is very busy throughout that time – and a great atmosphere is ensured with so many participants and parents there.
The main clubs in terms of numbers are Chaos (coached by Mel Marshalsey in Haverfordwest), Sapphires (from Tenby and coached by Jen Losada), and Pembroke (Ffion Omnet is in charge) and there is hope that other clubs will grow or get started.

Emily in trainingFamily Matters . . .

It comes as no surprise that Emily should be involved in sport because her father Sean was well-known in local football and played cricket as well for Fishguard before becoming a highly-respected referee.
Her mother Beverley has always been very supportive and joins sister Sophie Lewis and her husband Lee in looking after her cockapoo pup Cleo, whilst Sean puts up with her rants about netball and coaching!

Other Sports . . .

Emily swam for Fishguard Fliers, principally in the back stroke, when she was in primary school, and played hockey in midfield at Ysgol Bro Gwaun.
She also started out in football with Goodwick under 14s with dad Sean as coach but then there was nowhere to go in the game.

“But now I play in defence for Fishguard Sports Ladies,” Emily told us, “where Matthew ‘Minty’ Lamb does a great job of looking after us.
“We train on a Monday evening on the AstroTurf at Fishguard Leisure Centre from 6 to 7pm and then there’s always a mad dash to get inside to coach two hours of netball!
“’Minty’ is trying to get a Pembrokeshire Ladies’ League back up and running and he says that things look promising because there has been interest shown by quite a few local football clubs.”

Emily O Connor with Pembs U12s Champs - Fishguard

Back to Fishguard to help get netball restarted

When netball was struggling in Fishguard both Rhian and I were approached by Mrs Page-Jones and we decided to take on the respective roles of  chairperson and press secretary, as well as coaching all the junior teams in Fishguard and we now have two teams at under 12 level, the second only started a very short time ago but having already played in two games and done well.
“Then we have older teams at under 14 and under 16 levels, alongside the senior squad – and in the recently-held county tournament our under 12s won their competition and will now play at the next stage of the national competition at Carmarthen in the near future.
“The under 14s reached their semi-finals and the under 16s only missed out on a last-four place on goal difference so overall we were delighted!”         

And finally . . .

But of course it is netball that has become her main sporting focus and she is delighted that “At the moment we at Fishguard are doing well as part of that successful junior league programme but we are still looking for more clubs to start up – and we will do all we can to help them get everything they need.”
Talk to Emily O’Connor for a short while and her genuine enthusiasm shines through and we at PembrokeshireSport.co.uk wish her every success with her continued commitment to Fishguard Netball Club and the Pembrokeshire Junior Netball League!