Irish Ladies Soccer Team On The Up

Ireland logo

Founded in 1973, the WFAI provided player and squad development eventually convincing the FAI to recognize women’s football as a competitive sport in its own right.

As the Irish men’s soccer team embarks on a new adventure, it looks like the women have some exciting times ahead themselves.

Currently ranked 34th in the FIFA World Rankings, and 19th in Europe, the Republic of Ireland Senior Women’s team is certainly progressing in the right direction.

The talent is definitely out there, as exemplified by Peamount United’s Stephanie Roche back in October. The buzz surrounding Ms. Roche’s wonder goal against Wexford Youths was immense drawing compliments from footballers and celebs alike including Gary Lineker and James Corden.

This was one of many displays of skill and talent by our Irish female footballers, however in general most of these incidents go undocumented due to lack of event broadcasting.

So just how can the FAI create a better buzz around a sport that is consistently dominated by men?



The History and Development of Women’s Football

Founded in 1973, the WFAI provided player and squad development eventually convincing the FAI to recognize women’s football as a competitive sport in its own right.

The squad played in the second division until 2004 when wins over Romania, Croatia, Bosnia& Herzegovina, and Malta provided promotion to the FIFA first division.

Eligible now to compete directly for FIFA Women’s World Cup, this should have been the catalyst to push on but it has taken a few years to reach their full potential.



World Cup 2015


Sue Ronan’s team are certainly at their best of late with wins over such teams as South Africa, Finland and our neighbours Northern Ireland, herein building confidence there could be a possible inclusion in our first World Cup in 2015.



WORLD CUP 2015 Qualifying     


28/11/’12    Fr        USA    5-0    Ireland         Portland, Oregan        

01/12/’12    Fr        USA    2-0    Ireland         Glendale, Arizona        

06/03/’13    CCup        Ireland    5-1    Northern Ireland        Larnaca, Cyrpus        

08/03/13    CCUp        Ireland    2-0    South Africa        Paralimni, Cyrpus        

11/03/13    CCup        Ireland    0-0    South Korea        Paralimni, Cyrpus        

13/03/13    CCup        Ireland    0-1    Finland        Paralimni, Cyrpus        

18/06/13    Fr        Ireland    2-2    Austria        Tallaght, Dublin        R

22/09/13    WCQ        Ireland    2-0    Slovakia        Carlisle Grounds, Bray        R

26/09/13    WCQ        Croatia    1-1    Ireland        Sinji, Croatia        R

30/10/13    WCQ        Slovenia    0-3    Ireland        Velenje, Slovenia        R

05/04/14    WCQ        Ireland        Germany        TBC        

07/05/14    WCQ        Ireland        Russia        TBC        

14/06/14    WCQ        Ireland        Croatia        TBC        

19/06/14    WCQ        Russia        Ireland        TBC        

20/08/14    WCQ        Ireland        Slovenia        TBC        

13/09/14    WCQ        Slovakia        Ireland        TBC        

17/09/14    WCQ        Germany        Ireland        TBC        



Soccer Schools


The FAI has many training schools in place for girls interested in the sport such as the FAI Aviva Soccer Sisters. This program for girls aged 7 to 12 has provided a great incentive for interest and participation in sport.


In saying that, would perhaps a school of excellence not deliver more? Something similar to the youth programs at Ajax and Barcelona perhaps?

These schools of excellence mainly recruit local kids, but every so often they may come across some foreign talent. Participation in this sort of venture could mean big things for Irish women’s club football and finally create the buzz the FAI has been waiting for.

Could we perhaps find the next female Ronaldo or Messi? Could this kind of venture create a broader interest in media coverage, sponsorship deals, and investments in women’s football?



Meet the Players


Emma Byrne-

ClubArsenal (goalkeeper)

Former Clubs St. Patrick’s Athletic and Danish side Fortuna Hjorring



AchievementsContributed to Arsenal’s Uefa Women’s Cup win 2007, FAI International Player of the year 2012.

Grace Moloney-

ClubReading FC (goalkeeper)

Former Clubs Ireland U17



AchievementsPlayed for the U17’s in the Women’s World Cup 2010, understudy to Emma Byrne.

Mary Theresa McDonnell-

ClubUnattached (Defender)

Former Clubs Boston Renagades, Sky Blue FC, Chicago Red Stars, St Louis Athletico



AchievementsScored 4 goals in 5 games for Boston Renagades in 2008.

Yvonne Tracey-

ClubArsenal (Defender)

Former Clubs Lifford FC, St Patrick’s Athletic



AchievementsContributed to Arsenal’s Uefa Women’s Cup win 2007, FAI International Player of the year 2002.

Louise Quinn-

ClubEskilstuna Utd (Midfield & defender)

Former Clubs Peamount Utd



AchievementsScoring the hat-trick which helped Peamount win the 2011 Uefa Women’s Championship League.

Megan Campbell-

ClubFlorida State University (Defender)

Former Clubs Raheny United



AchievementsHad a hand to play in Raheny United’s 2012 Bus Éireann Women’s National League title and FAI Umbro Women’s Senior Cup win. Megan is also a free kick and long throw specialist (Rory De Lap eat your heart out)

Maeve de Burca-

ClubEskilstunaUnited (Defender/Midfielder)

Former Clubs Salthill Devon, Amizon Grimstad



AchievementsWon the FAI Senior Women’s Cup with Galway Ladies in 2007.

Dora Gorman-

ClubPeamount United (Midfielder)

Former Clubs Salthill Devon



AchievementsReceived great commendation from spectators and team-mates for her humble displays in the 2013 ‘Med Cup’ win.

Jessica Gleeson-

ClubWexford Women’s Youth AFC (Midfielder)

Former Clubs Tramore AFC, Villa FC



AchievementsImpressed immensely in the UEFA U17 Championship final and World U17’s Cup quarter finals respectively earning her first call up for the international team to play the 2013 Cyprus Cup.

Rachel Graham-

ClubRaheny United FC (Midfielder)

Former Clubs N/A


Goals 0

AchievementsWon the Bus Eireann Women’s National League and FAI Senior Cup 2012-13 with Raheny United.

Ruesha Littlejohn-

ClubGlasgowCity FC(Midfielder)

Former Clubs Liverpool FC, Scotland Under 17’s



AchievementsScored 7 goals against Inverness to secure Glasgow City’s Premier League title in 2010.

Shannon McDonnell-

ClubUnattached (Midfielder)

Former ClubsUniversityof Illinois, Windy City Bluesz, Chicago Gaels, ChicagoRed Stars



AchievementsAppointed camps director for Chicago Red Stars 2011.

Shannon Smyth-

ClubAmazon Grimstad (Midfielder)

Former Clubs N/A



AchievementsRegular squad player; scored her first Ireland goal in the Cyprus Cup 2013.

Aine O’Gorman-

ClubPeamount (Striker)

Former Clubs DoncasterRovers



AchievementsA born footballer and key squad member; Contributed a hat-trick to the 2010 FAI Women’s Cup Final triumph and netted the Bus Eireann Women’s League Cup with Peamount in 2010.

Sophie Perry-

ClubBrighton& Hove Albian (Defender)

Former Clubs England U23’s


Goals 0

AchievementsWell experienced player as she represented England up to Under 23 level.

Fiona O’Sullivan-

Club SCFrieberg (Striker)

Former Clubs Chicago Redstars, CaliforniaStorm



AchievementsSix goals in five games during the 2011 World Cup qualifiers earned O’ Sullivan the prestigious FAI International Player of the Year 2011.


Niamh Fahey-

Club Arsenal (Midfielder)

Former Clubs Salthill Devon



AchievementsFAI Women’s Senior International Player of the year 2008, 2009, 2011.

Julie-Ann Russell-

ClubPeamount Utd

Former Clubs DoncasterBells, Salthill Devon



AchievementsIreland’s Under 19 player of the year 2010, Julie Ann scored the opening goal of Irelands World Cup 2015 campaign against Slovakia.

Diane Caldwell-

ClubAvaldness FC (Defender)

Former Clubs Raheny United



AchievementsWell experienced player having played for Ireland, Norway, USA and Iceland provincial teams.

Karen Duggan-

ClubPeamount United (Midfielder)

Former Clubs Piltown



AchievementsContributed to Peamount United’s Bus Eireann National League Cup win in 2013.

Sara Lawlor-

ClubPeamount United (Striker)

Former Clubs N/A



AchievementsBus Eireann’s National Women’s Player of the Year 2012 & 2013, Sara contributed 28 goals for Peamount making her top goal scorer. Ms. Lawlor will surely secure her place in the International squad to face USA in April’s World Cup qualifier.


Seana Cooke-

Club Raheny United (Defender)

Former Clubs St. Francis



AchievementsContributed to Raheny United’s inclusion in the 2012 Bus Eireann League Cup and the women’s 2013 Umbro Cup Finals respectively.

Grace Murray-

ClubPeamount United (Defender)

Former Clubs St. Francis, DundalkTown



AchievementsPlayed 9 Champions League games with St Francis and Peamount. Murraywon a FAI Women’s Cup medal with hometown, Dundalk United.

Deirdre Doherty-

ClubCastlebar Celtic (Striker)

Former Clubs IT Sligo



AchievementsDoherty’s notable performances for IT Sligo earned the player 3 Ireland caps inclusion in the Cyrus cup squad in 2013.

Denise O’Sullivan-

Club Glasgow City (Striker)

Former Clubs Wilton United (U14’s) Peamount United, Cork Women’s FC



AchievementsWon the Irish U14 Cup with Wiltonin 2008, contributing two goals. O’Sullivan scored against bitter rivals Rangers on her debut for Glasgow City in 2013.

Stephanie Roche-

ClubPeamount United (Striker)

Former Clubs Valeview, Cabinteely Girls, Stella Maris, Dundalk City, Raheny United



AchievementsThe aforementioned wonder goal for Peamount has most certainly shot Ms. Roche into the spotlight along with top goal scorer status for 2011/12 Bus Eireann Women’s National League. The infamous goal was uploaded on you tube by team manager Eileen Gleeson- Surely this kind of display should provide incentive for more coverage of women’s football on national TV?

Ciara Grant-

ClubRaheny United (Midfielder)

Former Clubs Kilmacrennan Celtic



AchievementsWon the 2009 FAI Women’s Intermediate Cup with Kilmacrennan Celtic. Medals for the 2012/13 Women’s National League and FAI Women’s Senior Cup can also be accredited to Ms. Grant.


Sue Ronan (Manager)


Current manager Sue Ronan previously played for the Irish international team and won the FAI Senior Women’s International Player of the Year in 1993.


So, what’s next for Ireland?


Having finished 2013 with just one defeat from eight games Ireland have already accumulated 7 points to bring forward against World number 2 Germany on April 5th next year.


Calling on Ireland fans to get behind the Women’s National Team when they play host to Germany, midfielder Julie Ann Russell exclaimed, “It will be a tough game…we definitely need to have plenty of home support for that game…”


Things look hopeful for this Irish team and the worldwide reaction to Stephanie Roche’s goal has given a lift to everyone involved.

According to Russell, “It’s been great publicity for the women’s game in Ireland” and the televising of the Women’s Cup Final live on RTE in November was a sure step forward for some very exciting coverage of Irish Women’s football.


Ireland’s World Cup 2015 qualifying campaign continues on April 5th 2014 in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium…


© Audrey Mulholland 2014


About audsmul10

Music journo and blogger. European Music Editor for

Posted on April 6, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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