After a painfully long off-season which ran for nine months, the Women's National League finally gets a chance to move from a printed fixture list and jump onto the field of play today when the 2020 season kicks off.
And the two oldest clubs in the league will write a new chapter in their history as Athlone Town (founded in 1887) and Bohemians (130 years old this year) field a team at this level for the first time, the Gypsies away to Wexford Youths today.
They take on outfits like Peamount United, Shelbourne and Wexford who have been around the block and know the league well, a challenge for all concerned at the two new clubs.
Bohs striker Bronagh Kane is used to fighting against the odds: she joins the Gypsies after a three-year spell with a Kilkenny City side who finished bottom of the table three years running, without a single league win over the last two seasons.
Getting off the bottom of the table was the constant challenge for Kilkenny so Kane is unsure what to expect from a new side in a new season which was due to start in March, only to lose five months from Covid.
"It wasn't easy but we as players never stopped trying at Kilkenny and tried to get better, though sadly the club is no more, they had a lot of problems that just hit them at once at the end," she says.
"It's all new now at Bohs, we are a new squad and a new team. It's great to have the league back in the first place but to go into a new team at a club like Bohs is exciting for us all, I know a lot of the girls from around the league already, now it's a matter of gelling as a team."
Bohs have tried to push the social aspect of their club in recent years, and the women's side will have their own shirt sponsor, housing charity Inner City Helping Homeless, while the club also have a link with Homeless Period Ireland, providing sanitary products at home games.
"I didn't know much about Bohs when I joined but we met officials from the club up at the stadium and they stressed how important equality is, how delighted they are to have a women's team in," says Kane.
"And it's great that so many of this team have come through the Bohs underage set-up, it's a community club and having a women's team will only add to that aspect," added Kane, an Offaly native who turned her back on a promising GAA career to focus on soccer, learning her trade at Carlow IT and Kilkenny City with a stint in futsal another string to her bow.
Kane, eager to use a spell at Bohs as a pathway to the international side, expects a tight season: "Peamount have made some good signings, Alannah McEvoy from Shels is a great signing, but Wexford, Shels and others can put it up to Peamount."