Soccer star Saoirse Noonan on a roll after making a big move from Cork

Switch to Shelbourne paid off for Noonan, who had to leave Cork City and the Cork ladies football team behind
Soccer star Saoirse Noonan on a roll after making a big move from Cork

Saoirse Noonan of Shelbourne in the EVOKE.ie FAI Women's Cup final against Wexford Youths at Tallaght Stadium. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

HER goals this season were to win a National League title and get an Irish senior call-up. 

That she did, and despite hitting her targets, Saoirse Noonan is still finding it hard to believe how well the past year has gone.

The 22-year-old from Grange left Cork City to sign for Shelbourne because she wanted to challenge herself more and because she believed playing in a more competitive team would give her a better chance of making the international squad. 

Shels won the league in style, beating Wexford Youths as Galway pulled off a shock upset against leaders Peamount. High drama.

“Overall, and collectively for me, it's been an amazing year,” said Noonan. 

Saoirse Noonan of Shelbourne facetimes her family following the SSE Airtricity Women's National League win at Tolka Park. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Saoirse Noonan of Shelbourne facetimes her family following the SSE Airtricity Women's National League win at Tolka Park. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

"What I set out to do at the start of the year from international recognition to winning the league it has all come through. To win the double would have been the icing on the cake however it wasn’t meant to be.

“With regards to the league win, I’m still in shock if I’m honest. I did come here with the intention to win a league but during the season losing so heavily it was no longer in our hands. 

"Every game we would discuss the importance of three points to keep in touch with Peamount and all those games counted.

“We knew we had to win the final league game of the season against Wexford mainly because we were up against the same opposition in the cup final the following week we wanted to make a statement. 

"We kept high hopes and visioned ourselves lifting the cup saying 'Imagine we won it tonight'... 'Imagine if we get a play-off?'

"There was such a good buzz around. The first half we knew nothing until Galway scored their second goal, we were never told Peamount were 2-0 up. 

"So at half time we knew it was 2-2 but no one spoke about it and you could just see little smirks and hope in the dressing room. 

"It wasn't until the last 10 minutes we knew Peamount we’re losing, the crowd was incredible and someone shouted on it was 5-2 and when Noelle (Murray) said it was true I didn't believe it and just told myself concentrate because we were only a goal ahead.

“To hear the final whistle and know we were league champions it was a surge of emotions. 

"I took a step back and just had tears in my eyes looking at everyone going crazy, no one could really believe it.

It's crazy, I watch the Champions League all the time and only this summer I added it to my goals to play in the Champions League. 

"Writing it down I remember kind of laughing at myself being like I can dream I guess but now I really will be playing in it and it feels fantastic.” 

Switching to a new club in Dublin meant leaving Cork City and the Cork ladies footballers behind. That wasn’t easy for the proud Leesider.

Ireland's Louise Quinn and Saoirse Noonan. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Ireland's Louise Quinn and Saoirse Noonan. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

“When I first went in I was nervous of course but it was great to have Amanda (Budden) there and I knew a few of the girls from underage internationals like Alex Kavanagh and Jamie Finn. 

I think I put a lot of pressure on myself in the beginning and wasn't enjoying it as much as I should have however once I found my feet and settled in it was all uphill from there. 

"It's such a talented ground with bags of knowledge and I love that.

“With regards to my own performances this season I always believe there is room for improvements and in some games, I didn't perform to what I would have liked. 

"I think I’m top goal scorer in Shels this year so I’m proud of that and I’m happy with the contribution I made but there's definitely loads of chances I missed and things I will improve on going forward.

Shelbourne's Saoirse Noonan and Lauren Dwyer of the Wexford Youths. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Shelbourne's Saoirse Noonan and Lauren Dwyer of the Wexford Youths. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

“For now I’m not even thinking about my plans for next season just yet. 

"I’m in my final year of college in MTU so at the moment it’s just about enjoying the league win and then all my focus for a while will be on college and doing well in my Summer exams and then I can focus on soccer again."

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