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Women's League not wired right to 'trip the light fandango' just yet

Sinead Kissane



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Chloe Darby will be part of the first Bohemians team to play in the Women’s National League at senior level this year. Photo: Sportsfile

Chloe Darby will be part of the first Bohemians team to play in the Women’s National League at senior level this year. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Chloe Darby will be part of the first Bohemians team to play in the Women’s National League at senior level this year. Photo: Sportsfile

There wasn't too much over-reaching by FAI standards at the launch of the new National Women's League at the Aviva Stadium in October 2011. The formation of a new six-team league was trumpeted as a "new era for women's football in Ireland", which it was. The then Republic of Ireland women's manager, Sue Ronan, spoke about players being able to "experience playing in a top-level competition at home, rather than having to go abroad", which sounded aspirational and promising.

The league director, Fran Gavin, seconded what Ronan said, and added: "I can assure everyone that it will be given the same focus and priority as the men's league," which sounded like tumbleweed rolling across a deserted highway.

In its ten-season history the Women's National League (WNL) has had three main sponsors compared to the decade-long single title sponsor of the men's equivalent. Bus Éireann and Continental Tyres have sponsored the WNL before So Hotels - owned by Supermac's owner Pat McDonagh - took over as title sponsor last year.