Rovers WU17 team begin season this weekend

The Sligo Rovers Women’s Under 17 team begin their Só Hotels Women’s Under 17 National League campaign on Saturday, when they travel to Dublin to take on Peamount.

The Bit O’Red girls were due to start last Saturday, but the game was postponed as a result of international call-ups on both sides.

Head-coach Darragh Healy says his players are raring to go: “We’re really excited. We’re happy with how things have gone so far. It’s all systems go. Peamount will be a tough game but we’re ready for it.”

There are just three new faces in the squad for this year. Healy feels that the settled squad will help. “There’s only two or three new players in the squad this year, who we’re really happy to get in. Obviously a few players have moved on that are overage, very few changes around the place. They did well last year, we’re hoping to build on that. The girls are that bit older and that bit more experienced so hopefully we’ll have a good season.”

“A lot of the girls still have this year and next year so they still have two seasons, a lot of those girls came in as 14 or 15 year olds last year and had a half season, we’re hoping that with this year and next year they will come on really strong and develop as players.”

Our thanks to main sponsors David McConville Orthodontics. Missing from photo: Muireann Devaney, Leah Duffy, Leah Fox and Farrah McDonagh.

Healy says the important thing is developing the players for the future. Results are not the most important aspect of the season.

“We want to see the girls to improve, that’s the main thing. We spoke to them, results may or may not go your way every week but the main thing is  that we’re improving as players and improving as a group and that the girls are developing as players. The results will take care of themselves after that.

“There was a lot of good work done last year. I’m coming in and the girls are in a really good place, the club is in a really good place. We’re just hoping to build on that for the season ahead and take it to the next level if we can.”

IT Sligo are associate sponsors of the Bit O’Red women.

He also confirmed his management team: “Assistant coach is Martin McManus, a Sligo man, he would have worked on the Emerging Talent programme so he would have worked with myself and John Russell around Sligo. I’ve Jason Quinn, goalkeeping coach, he’s played in the IT for many years and he’s a very good up and coming goalkeeping coach, really happy to have him on board. Stephen Travers is doing the video work for us, mostly on matches, that will be very useful. We have Conor Rush doing the strength and conditioning, he’s recently finished his masters. Delighted to have him on board, he will really help the girls. We have Hugh Cunningham doing the player observation and a bit of match analysis. Really happy with all the staff.”

Darragh Healy with Mark Butler, Good4U, associate sponsors.

Councillor Marie Casserly, Chairperson of the Sligo Rovers Womens committee said: “We were accepted as founding members of the inaugural U17 Women’s National League for the 2018 and 2019 Seasons which commenced in July 2018, with our plans to add a Senior Women’s National League team in the 2020 season to complete the pathway for elite female players which is not currently catered for in the North West of Ireland. When I was asked to become involved two years ago I was honoured and privileged as I truly believe in the need to attract, promote and retain women and girls in sport. To be able to do this in Sligo is fantastic as traditionally female football players of this standard have had to leave the region to continue to play football at an elite level. Now we have provided an opportunity through collaboration with different agencies to compete with the best of them here in this region.”

This would not be possible without our main sponsors David McConville Orthodontics, and facility sponsors IT Sligo.

The squad is as follows: Erin Taheny, Leah Duffy, Leah Fox, Sarah Kiernan, Cathy Harrison, Kate Nugent, Keela Scanlon, Muireann Devaney, Aoife McLoughlin, Helen Monaghan, Farrah McDonagh, Sophie McDonagh, Aife Haran, Ciara Henry, Emer O’Neill, Alva Munnelly, Ava Keane, Sorcha Reddy, Kate O’Dowd.

Squad with Michael Nugent of Verus Metrology, sponsors.