Shels ladies set sights on silverware slam
Shelbourne Ladies captain Pearl Slattery expects to raise four trophies as summer soccer arrives for the Continental Tyres Women's National League
Slattery led the all-conquering Shels to a league and cup double in 2016. While Player of the Year Noelle Murray have gone to Glasgow City, Shels have picked up Ireland star Roma McLaughlin and Tiegan Ruddy from Peamount United, and Niamh Prior from UCD Waves.
"After last year you have to go in with high hopes" explained Slattery who feels Shels can complete a clean sweep of league, shield, league cup and FAI Cup.
"I think the squad is a lot better than last year; even though we have lost a few players, the recruitment has been excellent. We have top youngsters coming through also, so why not, we can win everything again!"
Women's soccer is still developing in Ireland, meaning the player pool is quite small. There is an imbalance among the league's seven members, where a prize pot in the region of €15,000 will be awarded - Kilkenny United begin their third season in the league, having failed to register a point in their previous campaigns.
The idea of a draft to address the balance has been mooted.
"It's something you would never rule out" explained Fran Gavin, who runs the Women's National League as well as the SSE Airtricity League.
"We've looked at models in different countries where they have a system in place - if there are structures that make the league more competitive, we will certainly look at it."
"As the game grows, you have to look at that all the time. Is the league aligning with the growth of the game, is the competition so one-sided that it's detrimental to the development of the players?"
Gavin added that entities from Limerick and Sligo are in negotiations to become the league's eighth member in 2018.