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.”