Doherty becomes latest Rovers signing

Fiona Doherty is the latest player to commit to Sligo Rovers ahead of the new Women’s National League season.

History will be made this Saturday as the Bit O’Red play their first ever game in the national league, taking on three time champions Peamount in Dublin at 5pm.

Doherty, a native of Foxford, is well known in GAA circles and joins Rovers having rediscovered her love for football in recent years.

The 25-year-old is a forward, and signs having impressed manager Steve Feeney during a pre-season friendly during which she played against Rovers for Conn Rangers.

Doherty has played GAA for as long as she can remember, and is a senior player for Mayo.

As a youth, she played football for Ballyvary Blue Bombers, before she left that aside to concentrate on GAA.

Doherty, who is a member of An Garda Síochana based in Letterkenny, has played for Connacht representative sides in the past.

She returned to football last year, and won silverware with Conn Rangers.

“Last year I joined Conn Rangers after breaking my thumb which withdrew me from Gaelic earlier than I wanted.

“But it brought back the love for soccer I’ve always had but pushed aside when I was younger.”

Feeney approached Doherty following the pre-season friendly at The Showgrounds, and talks started from there. “I trained a few weeks later and I’m delighted to be signing for Sligo Rovers as a result of it all.

“Pre-season has been great, I’m learning so much from all the girls on the team and also Steve and his management team.”

Doherty is stepping away from GAA for a period, and is planning to return later in the year.

For now, her focus is on Rovers and the new season.

She is honoured to be given the opportunity to be a part of the first ever Rovers Women’s National League side.

She said: “Being given the chance to play in the WNL is an absolute honour as I know there are lots of soccer players that would give anything to be in my shoes.  “It’s all a new experience to me and I’m taking nothing for granted. I’m taking it all in and really looking forward to the year ahead in the Bit O’Red.”

Doherty studied at IT Sligo and knows a number of the players from her time there, along with a few familiar faces from Mayo.

“I’m fortunate to know a few of the girls in the squad from IT Sligo and also there’s a few Mayo girls within the panel who I’ve played GAA with and against. Having those familiar faces there made it easier for me to walk into the first session as I felt like I was always a part of the team.”

With the season getting underway this Saturday, Doherty hopes Rovers can surprise a few people this year.

“To be part of the first Sligo Rovers WNL side is a great feeling, I’m delighted to be a part of it and look forward to the season ahead.

“We have been doing very well in training and there is such talent within the group. I don’t think there will be too much expected of us as a team just starting out but hopefully we will surprise a few people.

“Steve and his management team have been phenomenal so far, they are super professional and really know their stuff.”