Category: Womens

McLellan becomes latest Rovers signing

IT Sligo sports scholar Lauren McLellan has signed for Sligo Rovers ahead of the new Women’s National League season.

The 20-year-old, who hails from Manulla in Mayo, plays as a centre forward or striker, but has previously played as a goalkeeper.

McLellan played in the first Sligo Rovers WU17 team.

At that stage, she was a goalkeeper and later realised she preferred to play outfield, scoring goals.

McLellan started playing football with Manulla, before moving onto Castlebar Celtic where she enjoyed a lot of success.

She then signed for Rovers’ u17 side, and later spent two years with Kiltimagh Knock United and then moved back to Manulla where she was part of the side that won the Mayo League for the third year in a row.

She plays with IT Sligo, where she is in her second year of a sports scholarship.

She said: “I got a call from Steve (Feeney) asking me to attend training, he had said my college gaffer Emma Hansberry had put forward my name.

“I have loved training so far, getting back into the intense football I loved growing up.

“Steve makes the training tough, intense and fun, he is an excellent manager to work with.”

McLellan believes playing against players of a high standard this season will be a valuable experience.

“I am buzzing to be part of Rovers’ first WNL side, I am excited for the season to begin, playing with rovers and against internationals and tough opponents it will be a great experience.”

Experienced O’Dowd signs up with Rovers

Former Ballina Town and Conn Rangers defender Orna O’Dowd has joined the Bit O’Red for the new season.

O’Dowd, a native of West Sligo, joins the Bit O’Red from Mayo side Conn Rangers.

The 31-year-old began her football career as a youth with Kilglass Enniscrone United, before moving to Ballina Town at under 12, where she gradually made her way up to the senior squad.

She was with Ballina Town for 15 years before moving on to Conn Rangers in 2021.

“We had an amazing memorable few years from underage right up to senior with the town, winning Mayo Cup, Mary Walsh Cup, the league, Connacht Cup throughout the different years.

“We won the WFAI intermediate cup in 2006 and again in 2014 when I was captain. After winning the WFAI cup in 2006 we got to go as a team over to Italy in 2007 to take part in an international soccer tournament.”

O’Dowd played her football in Mayo due to a lack of options locally, and GAA was a big focus of hers throughout the years.

She enjoyed success with her side Eoghan Rua who won the Sligo Intermediate Championship in Sligo in 2020, and were victorious in the Connacht Junior Championship.

O’Dowd, who works in the hospitality industry, was contacted by Rovers coach Jacqui Mulligan to see if she would come to Sligo for training.

“I had seen the post up on Facebook about Rovers joining the Women’s National League and was absolutely delighted to hear that the first ever sligo team was being set up. A former ex team-mate from Ballina Town Jacqui Mulligan got in contact with me to see if I’d pop down.”

O’Dowd is excited at the prospect of playing elite football in her home county of Sligo.

“It’s such an achievement and memorable time, before this you’d be watching/following the games but to be given the opportunity to play locally at this level and to come up against international players too is exciting.”

With the season starting this Saturday with a trip to Dublin, O’Dowd is eager to get going.

“It’s been great. Training is so well organised and it’s at a very good standard.

“Steve and the coaches know their stuff and I’m really enjoying it. I cannot wait for the season to start.”

Brennan signs on for Feeney’s Rovers

Ballybofey native Caoimhe Brennan is the latest player to join Sligo Rovers ahead of the club’s first ever season in the Women’s National League.

The 18-year-old joins the Bit O’Red having spent the last three years playing for the Donegal Women’s League in the underage national league.

Brennan says she is honoured to be part of Sligo Rovers history.

“It’s a big achievement. It’s an honour too because not a lot of people can say they’ve been part of the first ever Sligo Rovers Women’s National League team. It’s good that Steve had faith in me to let me express myself and play in the first team.”

The Donegal native played her underage club football with Finn Valley, from as early as she can remember.

She has won silverware at the Gaynor Cup in 2018 winning the plate and in the Donegal league in 2020.

Brennan has played Gaelic Games too over the years. She is currently in first year at Letterkenny IT, where she is studying Sports and Exercise.Brennan is thriving at Sligo Rovers, a move that felt right for her.

“One of the girls from Sligo said to me about coming down and it kind of sparked an interest for me. I’d always thought I’d like a different experience in a different environment so it just felt right for me.

“It’s been great. The environment there has been absolutely unreal, everybody gets on really well and there’s good team morale building.”

Goalkeeper Sample joins the Bit O’ Red

Sligo Rovers are delighted to announce the signing of experienced goalkeeper Kristen Sample.

The 33-year-old, who hails from Baltimore in the United States, brings with her a wealth of experience.

Sample was player/coach with Cork City last season in the WNL, and has previously won silverware with Durham University in England, and played with the Durham Wildcats.

She also played for Raheny United in 2010, before the club became Shelbourne FC.Sample is a vastly experienced coach, and currently has a UEFA A goalkeeping licence and she will begin her UEFA A licence this summer in Ireland.

She was previously assistant manager and goalkeeping coach to Portuguese women’s side Boavista Futebal Club.

Since 2010, she has felt an affinity with Sligo Rovers. It all started on that fateful day in November 2010 at the Aviva Stadium, when we beat Shamrock Rovers in a final that will go down in history.

Sample was there that day, and Ciaran Kelly’s penalty saving heroics have been in her mind ever since.

“I knew Sligo Rovers were planning on starting a women’s team. In 2010 I was living in Dublin when Sligo Rovers men made the cup final. My housemate got me tickets and I went.

“It was such an exciting match and the goalkeeper saved several penalties, it was huge. It’s always stuck in my mind. I loosely followed the club for a while, and my family heritage would be Mayo so I would be keen on the west of Ireland.

“Mayo doesn’t have a club so Sligo does. I loosely followed the team, so when I heard there was going to be a WNL team I got onto a friend who was coaching at Sligo and I asked who I’d talk to, and he said to reach out to Conor O’Grady.

“I did, and he was nice enough to listen to me. I came up and ran a session and he was like ‘we’re happy to have you in’. Since then it’s been trying to make it work with the visa.”

Kristen will be coaching alongside playing, and has enjoyed working with the other coaches and players so far.

“Everyone has been really good. I’d be a little bit closer to the WNL than they would be having played in it last year so I’ve kind of thrown some ideas their way and they’ve been really receptive to it.”

Sample’s coaching and playing has taken her around the world. It has introduced her to many people, one of those being former Bit O’Red goalkeeper Ryan Coulter who she met while completing her A Licence.

“I just saw him two weeks ago, we were at a convention in Kansas City. I’ve also been really lucky in a few ways. I’ve been able to take my dog everywhere with me too. She’s coming out here to Sligo in another month or two. She was with me in Portugal and she was with me in Cork too.

“She’s not been here long, but Sample is settling well into life here in Sligo.”It’s cold! And very windy! But I really like it. It’s a lovely town. I came up to Sligo last October and did a bit of hiking and saw all the beaches. I’m really enjoying it.

“The people are super friendly. Some of the best food I’ve had has been in Sligo.”

The 2022 Women’s National League season kicks off on Saturday, March 5th.

The Bit O’Red’s opening game is an away trip to Peamount United.

Rising star Doherty pens Rovers deal

Buncrana’s Emma Doherty is the latest player to commit to Sligo Rovers’ Senior Women’s National League team for 2022.

The 17-year-old has impressed since joining Donegal Women’s League at under 17 level.

The striker has even scored against the Bit O’Red when playing at under 17 level, scoring five in one game in 2021.

Last October, Doherty was announced as the EA Sports Under 17 National League player of the month.

She once netted eight goals in one game in the Under 17 National League last season.

Doherty’s performances earned her plenty of plaudits, and she is an underage international.

She has been called up to the Irish Under 19 squad, and travelled to Portugal last season with the squad.

Having enjoyed a superb season in 2021, Doherty decided she wanted to push herself even further this year.”I just wanted to challenge myself this year. I went to the IT Sligo open day event and then went to training and I really liked the training and I just thought that was the place for me.”

Doherty is a Leaving Certificate student at Scoil Mhuire in Buncrana, and although there will be some travelling involved in her new venture with Rovers, she is more than willing to take on this challenge.

Her move to Rovers has been made easier by the fact that there are so many other players from Donegal there who she can travel with.

And, there are plenty of familiar faces too which helps.”I knew a couple from emerging talent and a couple from Ireland trials as well,” she said.

Now that Doherty has settled in, she can’t wait for the season to start.

“I love training so far. I’m really loving it. It’s at a very good standard. Steve knows his stuff and I’m really enjoying  it so far. I’m really excited for the season to start. I can’t wait now to get going.”

Monaghan joins Sligo Rovers

Sligo Rovers are delighted to announce the signing of Ruth Monaghan.

Monaghan grew up close to the Showgrounds and is now thrilled to get the opportunity to represent the club in the WNL.

Monaghan is currently a scholarship student at IT Sligo where she is studying Health Science and Physical Activity.

The 20-year-old has played for local clubs Calry Bohs (2015-2016) and Yeats United (2016-2019).

The centre-back also played for the Sligo/Leitrim representative side, and plays for the IT Sligo women’s side.

Monaghan was captain of The Ursuline College Senior football team that won the Connacht final in 2019.

Monaghan said: “I’m delighted to be signing  for Rovers’ first ever senior WNL team, it’s great that I have been given the opportunity to play locally at this level.”

Lauren Boles, Leah Kelly, Erin Coyle and Monaghan join Emma Hansberry, Katie Melly and Amy Hyndman as confirmed signings for the season ahead.

Rovers will take on Galway WFC in a friendly on Saturday at IT Sligo in preparation for the season ahead.

The season gets underway on Saturday 5 March with an away trip to Peamount United.

Leah Kelly signs for Sligo Rovers

Leah Kelly has joined Sligo Rovers ahead of the new season in March.

Templeboy native Kelly is the latest signing for the new WNL senior side.

As a youngster, Kelly loved attending the Bit O’Red summer camps, and now she gets the opportunity to don the red and white of Rovers.

The 22-year-old played for Strand Celtic until she was 16, before moving onto Ballina Town for two seasons.

The central midfielder has played for the University of Limerick’s team since 2018.

Kelly is also a talented GAA player and plays for St. Farnan’s and Sligo, alongside the UL team.

She previously went to the Gaynor Cup as part of the Sligo/Leitrim team from 2012-2016, and won the Under 14 Connacht Cup with Strand Celtic in 2012.

Kelly is in her final year in UL studying PE and Geography teaching.

She said: “I’m delighted to get the opportunity to play for Sligo Rovers. It’s great to have a team here and the support so far has been amazing. I remember when I was younger coming to the Showgrounds every summer for their camps so it’s mad to be coming back now to play.”

Coyle becomes latest Bit O’ Red recruit

Erin Coyle has signed for Sligo Rovers as manager Steve Feeney makes his latest signing.

Coyle puts pens to paper having impressed since joining up with the squad.

The Donegal native is currently a first year student in IT Sligo studying Health Science and Physical Activity.

The midfielder has previously played for Moville Celtic and Greencastle.

She played for the Inishowen girls academy from Under 12 until Under 16, representing the academy in the Gaynor Cup.Coyle was part of the Moville Community College side who were crowned 2018 and 2019 All Ireland champions, and she won the National Cup with Greencastle in 2019.

She said: “I’m delighted to have signed for Rovers and be apart of their first WNL team . 

“It’s a great opportunity training with the girls and working with the management has been brilliant, I’m really looking forward to the season ahead and getting more games in.”

Boles joins the Bit O’ Red

Central midfielder Lauren Boles has signed for Sligo Rovers for the club’s first season in the Women’s National League.

The 27-year-old has plenty of WNL experience having played in the inaugural season in 2011 with Castlebar Celtic.

The Ballintogher native spent two seasons with Celtic, before signing for DLR Waves in 2013, returning to Castlebar for a year in 2014.Boles was part of the Republic of Ireland Under 17s squad in 2011/12, where she played alongside players such as Katie McCabe.

At underage level, Boles played with Ballygawley Celtic Under 12s and Strand Celtic girls Under 16s and Under 18s.

She has also represented the region in the Gaynor Cup across all age groups.Boles is also a talented GAA player, and with no outlet previously to play football, she has focused on playing with her club St. Michael’s and the county side.

She recently completed a masters in agricultural innovation at NUIG and currently works for the HSE.

Boles said: “I’m delighted to have signed with Sligo Rovers and I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead. It’s a brilliant opportunity to play WNL in Sligo and gives a pathway to aspiring young girls in the area.

“It’s a credit to the work done at underage level within Sligo Rovers which has provided a foundation for the senior team. I’m delighted for these young girls who now have the opportunity to play at the highest level in Ireland.

“I am very proud to be part of the first Sligo Rovers to take part in the WNL. It’s exciting for me and my family and I can’t wait for the league to start.”

Boles is delighted to get the opportunity to play WNL locally in Sligo. 

“Steve is meticulous in his approach to training and he has formed a great management team. Training have been really enjoyable.

“I started playing with Emma Hansberry while in Ursuline college, we played centre mid together there and also at Castlebar Celtic.

 “It’s great to see girls who may not have had the opportunity to play WNL otherwise, now get that opportunity with Sligo Rovers. The squad has been building over the last few weeks and there is a great mix of young and not so young!”

Women’s Under 17 sponsorship available

We are currently on the look out for a new Primary Sponsor for our Women’s Under 17 team that will compete in the Women’s National Under 17 League in 2022.

The team will play in their fourth season next year and will be our youngest female squad at the club with our Under 19 and Senior teams also playing at a national level.

The sponsorship will include a logo on the front of all playing kits for the duration of the deal as well as a pitchside advertising sign at The Showgrounds which would be in place for our Men’s and Women’s league games with added potential for TV and streaming coverage.

The Women’s Under 17 Season is set to begin in February or March 2022.

For full details you can email colinfeehily@sligorovers.com