SAOIRSE Noonan admits she “can’t wait to get going” after the Cork native officially completed her move to Durham Women FC in England’s second tier.
Durham were delighted to confirm the signing of the striker - subject to international clearance - after she had impressed on trial in recent weeks.
The Republic of Ireland international joins the Wildcats after a successful 2021, which saw her achieve success at both domestic and international level.
The former Cork City forward was a key part as Shelbourne claimed the Women’s National League title - she scored 12 times en route to lifting the trophy - and reached the FAI Cup final.
Noonan was always keen to test herself at a higher level and now she is aiming to make an impact in the FA Women’s Championship.
“It’s brilliant to be here,” said Noonan.
“This is a really competitive club and they’ve been up there, so I’m buzzing to get going and ready to compete.
“I’d say I’m quite a technical player and dangerous in and around the box - and I’m good in the air. I just can’t wait to get going now.” First-team manager Lee Sanders also hailed the signing and is looking forward to seeing what she can bring to his team.
“Saoirse is another positive signing for the club and is a player who we have been working on for a number of months,” added Sanders.
“She’s another forward - which was an area we wanted to add to - and her record in front of goal and in terms of assists stood out.
“She’s had that league-winning success coupled with a break into the national squad and working with our coaching staff - Rich [head coach], Steve and the support staff - we’re excited to see what she can add here at Durham.”
The 22-year-old left City in an effort to boost her chances of representing the Republic of Ireland at senior level and it has proven to be the correct decision as she has since won two international caps and scored her first goal against Georgia in their last fixture.
“To achieve three of my long-term goals in just one season was just unbelievable for me,” Noonan told the Echo recently after she was named one of the Echo Women in Sport winners for 2021.
“I always set out goals every year long and short term and after achieving three of my long term goals of setting up my own company, making my Irish senior debut, and scoring my first goal, it has given me the drive to want more and more.
“It’s not always easy to leave a team but going to Shels was something I felt I had to do.
“Being in Cork and having the GAA on my front door when I loved it so much was difficult. I needed change and to come out of my comfort zone. I left City because I wanted to go after my dream of playing for Ireland.
“With Shels coming so close the last three years I really wanted to help out and try to win it.
“So, for me, everything that has happened with winning the league, playing in the cup final, and getting on the Irish squad makes this decision feel worthwhile and one I stand by and I’m proud I did because it wasn’t easy.
“My move has definitely been justified and I hope this is just the start.”