Chloe Singleton & Niamh Kenna

The final episode before the start of the 2021 SSE Airtricity Women’s National League kicks off on Saturday features the remaining league clubs as we complete our pre-season check ins with each club.

Chloe Singleton of Galway WFC and Niamh Kenna of Bohemians join Stephanie Roche and Breifne Earley to discuss the comings and goings on and off the pitch at both clubs as well as how they have been preparing for the upcoming seasons.

Not to be forgotten Stephanie shares a little about what’s been happening over at Greenogue with the League and Cup Champions Peamount United where there have been little to no movement of players into the club over the close season as they appear settled for the new year.

Chloe discusses, amongst other things, the addition of former Shelbourne boss Dave Bell to the management ticket in Eamonn Deacy Park, the signing of Slovenian International goalkeeper Maja Zajc and the return of League & Cup winner Ruth Fahy to the club. She also stays tight lipped on her time rooming with Stephanie on Ireland duty.

Captain of Bohemians for their debut season last term, Niamh Kenna speaks about her return to the league after the demise of Shamrock Rovers, the feel good factor around the club and the girls being an integral part of the setup at Dalymount Park.

Niamh chats about the arrival of a number of players from Athlone and Peamount as well as the hopes to play more games in the “Home of Irish Football” this season as they look to improve on the results of their maiden outing in 2020.

Rebecca Creagh & Kayla Brady

This week Stephanie and Breifne are joined by Shelbourne midfielder Rebecca Creagh and attacking prospect Kayla Brady of Athlone Town ahead of the start of the 2021 season.

Rebecca, a Shels stalwart, has rejoined the club this season after being away in Australia, dealing with a period of injury struggles and a re-introduction to the league with Bohemians last season.

She’s delighted to “get the band back together” having played with a core of that team including Rachel Graham, Pearl Slattery and Noelle Murray since their teenage years.

She discusses the appointment of Noel King to the managerial position and the recruitment of Saoirse Noonan, Amanda Budden and Rachel Baynes amongst others to the playing squad has really given the squad a lift ahead of the new season where they hope to move one step higher and reclaim the league title from cross city rivals Peamount United.

We’re also joined by Irish underage international Kayla Brady, who along with her older sister Leah, was an integral part of Athlone’s debut season in the League and is raring to go ahead of the 2021 season.

She talks about the geographical spread of players coming from all over the centre and north west of the country who have been gathered by Tommy Hewitt for the season ahead with international quality in the shape of Northern Ireland senior international defender Catherine Hyndman & Muireann Devaney who’s represented Ireland at underage level.

Across the show Kayla, Rebecca and Steph discuss the impact of having the support of the men’s national league sides in terms of expertise, facilities, profile and resources to really push on the standards of the women’s game.

Stephanie also tells us about Peamount’s own weather nightmares against Athlone in a game on Friday evening, where even the match officials were praying for an early final whistle due to the atrocious conditions that marred a number of games in the last week.

Catherine Cronin & Kate O’Donovan

This week Stephanie Roche and Breifne Earley are joined by DLR Waves captain Catherine Cronin and Kate O’Donovan of last years FAI Women’s Cup finalists Cork City.

Kate O’Donovan tells us about Cork’s pre-season campaign so far including their 3-1 victory over Treaty United last weekend in a physical encounter.

She explains the impact of losing players like Saoirse Noonan to Shels and goalkeeper Maria O’Sullivan to a scholarship in the United States and the positive opportunity that creates for younger prospects to break into the team and showcase their own abilities in those key roles within the team and the talent coming through the academy which was created within the club in 2015.

Players like Laura Shine, Kelly Leahy and Eva Mangan who are beginning to feature for the senior team are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the quality currently in their underage sides.

Catherine Cronin joined the discussion and we got into a range of topics including DLR’s strong recruitment through the off-season, being lucky enough to be able to be training and playing in the current environment and the recent announcement of a contract extension for Waves manager Graham Kelly.

She talks about the addition of Jess Gleeson from Shelbourne, and the former Peamount United pair of Niamh Barnes & Louise Corrigan who will add some experience at the back for the team for this year.

Catherine also chats about her day job of nursing in a hospital in the middle of a pandemic and her upcoming wedding plans for this summer.

Stephanie discusses the upcoming launch of the League of Ireland and the Women’s National League on Wednesday, the launch of LOI TV and the building excitement for the campaign ahead.

Marie Curtin & Lynn Grant

Recently retired player and newly appointed coach with Treaty United Marie Curtin and the most experienced rookie in the league this season, Lynn (Marie) Grant of Wexford Youths join Stephanie Roche and Breifne Earley to discuss how they’ve been preparing for the 2021 season in their new roles.

Marie discusses the overnight transition from playing to coaching, the changes and similarities in the league since it launched in 2011 and even shares a few untold stories about her international experiences in the Irish shirt.

The experienced former international also discusses the lack of quality exposure over the decade of the league but points at some positive steps being made in the right direction with increased visibility through SSE Airtricity’s sponsorship and the new LOITV platform coming on stream.

Lynn, another former International player who dropped out of the game for health reasons, discusses her battle with diabetes, getting her illness under control and deciding to come back to the game as a mother of two and ten years after her last appearances at this level in the inaugural season.

Stephanie also talks about the impact of her viral sensation has had on her career and the fortune and misfortune that’s dominated her playing career since. The player of the game from the FAI Cup final talks about how her brace in that game was a great way to finish a tough season with injury and covid isolation issues that stopped her playing in Europe with Peamount.