AFTER graduating from the Cork City U17s to the senior set up last year, Lauren Singleton could hardly have endured a tougher start to life in the Women’s National League.
Previously a star with Hollyhill, Lakewood Athletic, and the City U17s, Singleton was rewarded for her progress with a place in the senior squad and soon a place in their starting 11.
But things didn’t quite go according to plan.
“It was my first start, it was the second week of the season and we were playing Peamount United in Bishopstown. I got injured in the first two minutes and was out for about six weeks then.
“It was a bruised bone on my ankle. I jumped up and I landed on it funny so I did it to myself. It wasn’t a tackle, I wish I could blame someone else for it but I can’t,” she laughs.
The youngster battled back to full fitness in time for the Women’s FAI Cup final showdown with the side she suffered the knock against a few weeks previously but she was soon dealt a hammer blow of a different nature.
“I got the bad news that I wasn’t in the final matchday squad,” she confirms.
“We trained the night before in the AUL Complex and I found out afterwards. I got a bit of a shock because I was in the squad the week before but the week before that I hadn’t been alright.
“It was a bit hit or miss if I was going to be put in, I wasn’t really sure. It was quite upsetting that night but the next day everyone made me feel like I was in the team so it didn’t make a difference.
“I got over it, it was still brilliant just to be there and sitting in the stands, getting to Tallaght was a great experience.
“I was just back fit before the cup final so I didn’t really get into the squad much because I was only back, the other players had been playing the whole season and they were winning so they weren’t going to change the team.
“It wasn’t the best season for me but it was really enjoyable anyway. The professionalism was just the next level, it felt great to be involved in that.”
When asked if she is using those disappointments as motivation for this season, Singleton was adamant.
“Oh, jeez, definitely. I was like ‘I don’t want to feel like that ever again!” she enthuses.
It appears to be working as she has put in a number of excellent displays for the City seniors and the under 19s, whom she also qualifies to represent.
Singleton recently featured for the seniors at left-back on a Saturday in their narrow defeat away to Shelbourne before helping the U19s win their opening game of their season and claimed a goal from left midfield in their 8-0 demolition of Greystones 24 hours later.
More recently, she was involved in both their respective trips to Dublin and Athlone but she believes the hectic schedule is worth it as she looks to keep developing as a footballer.
“I have been getting more game time this year,” she adds.
“I played my first 90 minutes this season so it has been really good, and playing with the U19s... it’s just getting better.
“The confidence I’m getting from that and the seniors is brilliant. I would have loved it if there was an U19s league last year, just to get my confidence up.
“When I’m with the U19s now I feel like I have a bit of experience behind me from the seniors.
“I really enjoy playing with the U19s, as much as I do with the seniors because I’m up left-wing for them, which I way prefer, and left-back for the seniors.
“I love being higher up the pitch, setting up goals, getting the ball into the box, taking on players, and just… I really enjoy it.
“You can only play 90 minutes in a weekend, well, I don’t know is that the rule from the league or the club but it sounds about right.
“The weekends are gone now when you are signed by both but, era, there’s not much you can do anyway in these times!
“My aim for the season is to play as many minutes as I can with both teams. I just want to get more experience and more confidence in myself.”