Women’s soccer in Donegal is to get a massive shot in the arm with the launch of a new North-West Women’s Super League.
Details of the new League, an amalgamation of the Donegal Women’s League and the Inishowen Ladies League, will be unveiled at a press conference on Easter Monday evening at the An Grianan Hotel, Burt.
Seven teams from the exisiting Inishowen Ladies League and three from the Donegal League, will join forces for a new League that is expected to kick off in May.
From the Inishowen League, Greencastle FC, Moville, Carndonagh, Clonmany Shamrocks, Illies Celtic, Quigley’s Point Swifts and Rasheney FC will be on board.
They will be joined by Lagan Harps, Bonagee United and Swilly Rovers from the Donegal Women’s League.
Dessie Kelly, the Chairperson of the Donegal Women’s League says the move is just what the game needed.
“It’s an exciting venture and it makes sense for all of the teams,” Mr Kelly said.
“The Leagues – especially our own in Donegal with us not having a big number of teams – were in danger of becoming stale, but this will inject a massive boost to the Leagues.
“The standard of the women’s game in Donegal is very high as we can see from the representation on international teams. The standard of the new North-West Women’s Super League will be very competitive with the teams we have involved.
“It is a step in the right direction. Anything that improves the standard has to be looked on as a positive step.”
The Inishowen Ladies League Chairman Paddy Hannon has also welcomed the new League.
“This was mentioned before, but teams weren’t able or willing to travel – but now they see the obvious benefits,” he said.
“The leagues will improve from this as it means much more competitive fixtures and it’s exciting for the players to be looking forward to something new like this.”
The North-West Women’s Super League will be governed by a mixture of representatives from the Donegal Women’s League and Inishowen Ladies Leagues.
Officials in the two Leagues have been frustrated recently at the high volume of players who have left the Leagues to join clubs north of the border, with many joining Derry City and Sion Swifts in recent weeks.
At the AGM of the Donegal Women’s League last month, Bríd McGinty, the outgoing secretary, mooted the possibility of Donegal fielding a team in the Women’s National League.
“The players have easy access to move, but we should be trying to keep them this side of the border to get a status and a pathway for national league,” McGinty said.
The Leagues joining resources may well be the first step on that way.
“We aren’t giving them that pathway in the North-West. We need to develop that pathway in the North-West or in Donegal at least.”