Galway will have a united soccer team playing in the top flight of domestic competition next season, with Galway Women’s Football Club to join the seven other existing senior women’s teams around the country in the Bus Éireann National Women’s League.
The newly formed Galway WFC was launched in the Radisson Hotel on Thursday evening last, and will join Castlebar Celtic, Cork Women FC, DLR Waves, Peamount United, Raheny United, Shamrock Rovers and Wexford Youths in the new season, which kicks-off on Sunday August 25.
Speaking exclusively to Sentinel Sport at the launch on Thursday night, Fran Gavin, the Director of the Women’s National League, said work on forming the new club had been ongoing for the past three years.
“We contacted the people involved in the women’s game in Galway and invited them to join the league when it was set-up in 2011, but they felt they weren’t ready to take that step at that stage. They said that while there was plenty of talent locally, the players were still quite young, and they wanted time to develop them.
“They said they would come back to us when they felt the time was right, and true to their word, here they are tonight to launch the new side and enter the league, and we’re delighted to have them,” he said.
With five teams based on the east coast – Wexford Youths sand the four Dublin sides of DLR (Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown) Waves, Peamount United, Raheny United and Shamrock Rovers – Gavin said the league was keen to have a better geographic spread, and Galway filled this role perfectly.
“There are some very good players who have come out of Galway recently. Niamh Fahey is a massive player with Arsenal, Dora Gorman captained the Irish U-17 side to the European Championships and World Cup in 2010, and you also have the likes of Maebh DeBurca, Julieanne Russell and Lisa Casserly, so the talent is obviously there.
“We will be looking to add further teams to the league – the set-up in Donegal is very strong, and we are in talks with the authorities in Limerick as well, and maybe a team from the Midlands. It is important to have a good spread of teams, when we set up the league we decided that four teams would be the maximum we’d have in Dublin, so we are looking elsewhere now for new teams,” Gavin said.
The manager of the Republic of Ireland’s senior women’s team, Sue Ronan, was one of those in attendance on Thursday night, and she said she hoped that as many Galway women as possible would return to play with their native club.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.