McGuinness signs for Rovers

Sligo Rovers can confirm that Gemma McGuinness has signed ahead of our first season in the Women’s National League.

The Donegal native returns to football having spent the last two years living in Vietnam.

McGuinness, who played her underage football with Greencastle, is a right-sided midfielder who has played underage football with Ireland.

The 26-year-old played international football at Under 15, under 17 and under 19s.

She played alongside Rovers’ Lauren Boles and Emma Hansberry during her time as an underage international.

McGuinness took a break from football before returning when she attended university.

She played for Team Ireland at the 2019 Summer Universiade when at Ulster University and played for Northern Ireland at the 2019 Turkish Cup.

Having played for Derry City for three years before departing for Vietnam, McGuinness has plenty of experience playing football at an elite level.

She was training with Derry after she returned home at Christmas, until a call came in from Boles to see if she would be interested in coming to Rovers.

“The first day I came down I was like ‘yeah definitely, this is for me’,” she said.

“The drive isn’t too bad, I don’t mind it. The quality of the training is worth the drive.”

There are a number of Donegal players in Steve Feeney’s side, so McGuinness and her team-mates will at least be able to share lifts.

McGuinness is a performance nutritionist, and works with Davey Nutrition, which is run by Sligo native Daniel Davey.

There are a lot of advantages to signing for Sligo Rovers for McGuinness.

“It’s relatively close to home, it’s a chance to play in the Women’s National League for the first time, and the training sessions have been superb.

“It’s been brilliant. Even the first day I went down, I wasn’t sure if I was signing for Derry this season or what I was doing, I’ve never played in the Women’s National League so it’s a big opportunity for me. The first day I went to training I knew it was right.

“It’s so well-organised. Steve always says the right thing at the right time, you can tell he puts a lot of thought into what he says. Getting back and seeing the girls having not seen them since u17. It’s good.

“I’ve been involved with football for years and I’ve never played WNL. It’s somewhat close to home, I don’t have to travel too far. To be involved in the first team is definitely an honour.”