CORK CITY WFC striker Saoirse Noonan is very close to completing a move to Women’s National League rivals Shelbourne ahead of the 2021 season.
It is understood that Noonan informed her team-mates and the coaching staff of her decision to leave at training on Monday night and believes the move will provide her with a better chance of representing the Republic of Ireland at Senior level.
It will be a huge blow for Ronan Collins side as Noonan is their star player and their top scorer each year.
The forward's impressive form for City helped secure their highest league finish (fourth place) since the club’s maiden season while she also played a significant role in their FAI Cup win in 2017 and in them again reaching the final in 2020, where they were beaten by Peamount United at Tallaght Stadium.
The Leesiders are set to host Noel King's Shelbourne side on Saturday the 3rd of April at Turner’s Cross in their first home game of the new campaign.
The news will come as a huge blow to the club as they have already lost goalkeeper and captain Maria O’Sullivan following her move to college in America while Éabha O’Mahony is set to make a similar move in the summer.
Noonan is also an important member of the Cork ladies’ football team and she recently helped them to reach the All-Ireland final where they too beaten by their rivals from Dublin.
The 21-year-old was also named in Veras Pauw’s provisional 31-player Republic of Ireland Senior squad for the European Championship qualifier against Germany in December but was omitted from the final selection.
The Ireland manager admitted at the time that Noonan, who was also named Women’s National League Player of the Month back in September, has been on her radar for some time and insisted she won’t make her choose between the two sports.
“Let’s first see how she develops,” said Pauw when asked by the Echo.
“The thing is young players have a heart in their sport, they have a heart in their game. The moment that you make the step up and you cannot cope anymore with combining (the two), that’s the moment that you need to choose.
“I will be the last one to say you have to stop playing.
"What I will do is if she is getting injuries, if the pressure is getting too high, if she doesn’t have recovery time anymore, if she needs to focus more, that is the only moment to discuss what do you want with your sport.
"She has been on my radar for a long time, of course, it's not that she had a good weekend (where she scored important goals for both teams) and was then selected.
“She was already on the fringe and we have been discussing and following her already for a while but it is great when you put her on the list and then you see how well she performs.”