Yvonne Hedigan signs for 2024

Sligo Rovers are delighted to announce the signing of Sligo native Yvonne Hedigan for the 2024 League of Ireland Women’s Premier Division campaign.

The experienced defender signs for her home town club after enjoying spells at Bohemians, Galway and Castlebar Celtic. After a difficult two years in which Hedigan has worked her way back from a broken leg, the North Sligo native is ready for a big season in which she announces her return from injury.

Hedigan started her Women’s National League career with Castlebar Celtic, where she played alongside the Bit O’Red’s Emma Hansberry. She played in the 2013 Women’s FAI Cup final, and impressed during her spell with the Mayo side. In 2016, she signed for Galway Women.

In 2021, Hedigan joined Bohemians and was enjoying a great season until she suffered an horrific injury that would see her miss two years. And now having worked her way back from that injury, Hedigan feels it is the right time to sign for Rovers.

She told sligorovers.com: “I’m obviously from Sligo, when Tommy approached me back in November and said that he wanted me to come in with him, we had numerous chats about it, I felt like now is the right time. I’m coming back from an injury that kept me out for two years. When Tommy approached me, he wanted to instil confidence in me and my return to play and come back and represent my home club, I felt that now is the right time to do that.

“I grew up in Sligo, I used to go to all the home games with my father every weekend. I just felt that now is the right time to go home and put on the Sligo Rovers jersey.

“Now I can always turn around and say I’ve always represented my home town club and that’s something that everybody wants to do. Especially from a young age, now is the right time to go back and represent them.”

Now that she has recovered from the broken leg, Hedigan wants to put it all behind her and make a statement as she returns to league action.”I broke my leg in September 2021. I went through eight or nine months of rehab to find out that I had to get an osteotomy to try and re-break the leg. It had healed wrong initially so I had to go through the rehab process again for another year. It just made me not take anything for granted.

“My passion and drive to get back is massive. It’s been very difficult. I’m delighted to be back in and back training. I had my first session with Sligo Rovers on Saturday. I’m delighted to be back and hope to push on and make a statement for myself, that I’m back.”

Due to that injury, Hedigan has actually not had the opportunity to play against Rovers since they entered the league in 2022. But, she has already played alongside a number of players and is familiar with others.”I would have played with the likes of Emma Hansberry from a young age, when I was in school and obviously at Castlebar Celtic.

“I grew up playing with Emma Hansberry and Lauren Boles. Those girls are quality players. We knew last year at Bohs coming down playing against Sligo, we always knew how strong Sligo were going forward. I think when Tommy came in he knew what he had to do to try and strengthen the team.

“He’s brought in some defensive players and I think that’s what Sligo needed to take it up another step. It’s exciting, it’s exciting to see where we’re going to go and bring that standard up to try and compete in the league.”

Hedigan works for Sport Ireland in Dublin and says her employers will generously allow her to work from home, which will make the commute between Sligo and Dublin for training that bit easier. Playin for Rovers means her family will have less travelling to do in order to support her, another reason to sign for the Bit O’Red.

“My family have been right behind me from a very young age since I was 16 playing national league. My father has driven me all around the country and supported me all the time. “Now for him and the likes of my grandfather, to have them in the stands and for them to not have to travel as far will be nice. It will be nice support for me as well.”

And Hedigan believes that Rovers will be a dark horse this year, given the quality of new signings that manager Tommy Hewitt has brought in.”I think we’re going to strive to increase league position this year. I think we can do that. I think the squad we have in there this year is going to really compete in the league. “Sligo Rovers are going to be a dark horse. In the cup, anything can happen. In the cup, it comes down to who wants it more. I think we’re going to push on this year.”