Shelbourne look to win inaugural Women’s U-17 League

By Gerard Mulreaney

The first ever Women’s National League U-17 final takes place this Sunday afternoon when Galway Women face Shelbourne Ladies in Galway. The game will be played in Drom, the home of Salthill Devon. 

Shelbourne manager Laura Heffernan, who was at the helm when Wexford Youths claimed the Senior Women’s National League Title last season, spoke to theleagueofireland.com about the big game and said that her team are relishing the task in hand this weekend.

“We are looking forward to the game. The previous two meetings have been very close with only one goal separating the sides on both occasions.”

“Galway are an excellent young team and we are looking forward to the challenge but we know there is a tough task ahead especially as we’re away from home.”

“Preparations have been good all week and we are looking forward to welcoming back some of our international players and some injured players at the end of the week. Hopefully we will have a full squad to choose from.”

It’s extremely disappointing that a National final isn’t being played in an enclosed stadium. Whilst the facilities in Drom are second to none, the game will be played out in an open green area, it’s not the same as an enclosed stadium environment. The benefit of playing the game in a stadium would be huge for these young players, however that argument is for another day. The Shels boss isn’t bothered where the game is played, “We are just looking forward to competing in the final. It was always going to be hard to find a neutral venue and it will impact support with a lot of junior teams and the WNL team playing at a similar time in Dublin but the venue won’t distract us from our preparations.”

Shelbourne Women’s U-17 manager Laura Heffernan Laura Heffernan

The advent of an U-17 Women’s League has been welcomed by many, with the quality on show all season being very high. Heffernan says it’s a great addition, “The U-17’s league has been a great addition to womens football in the country. Being able to play regularly against the best players in the country has really helped the girls develop. The semi finals showed just how competitive the league has been.”

Heffernan was named Shels U-17 manager at the start of the season and so far, she’s enjoying the challenge, “I’ve really enjoyed every minute at Shels this year. The club has been really supportive all season. There is a great structure in place and a lot of dedicated people involved, the senior team and management have also been hugely helpful in the development of the 17’s, challenging them on a weekly basis.”

The game has a 3pm kick-off on Sunday. 

Picture Credits: FAI, Wexford Youths FC

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