Derry City Women excited for 2021 campaign
Derry City Women begin their Danske Bank Women's Premiership season with a home encounter against Cliftonville Ladies tonight (KO 7.45pm).
Kevin McLaughlin's side have strengthened their squad ahead of the 2021 campaign and after being part of the coaching staff last season Caoimhe Logue is now just back playing this campaign and feels the girls, who have enjoyed pre-season, can improve this year.
"Pre-season has been brilliant and there's a real good buzz and atmosphere," she explained. "I think that's down a lot to firstly Kevin, our manager, he has set pre-season up well and organised everything and he knows how we want to play and the players have really bought into that.
"We have made a couple of good key signings with Paula McGrory joining, I think she was top goalscorer with Illies Celtic in the North West Women's Super League last season. We tried to get her last year but with work commitments we couldn't sign her and while I think Sion Swifts Ladies were also interested in her this season, she decided to sign with us.
"Caroline Gallagher, is actually an all-rounder when it comes to sport, she like Paula won an Ulster title with Donegal in 2019 and she is also a welterweight boxer. Eimer Lafferty is another good player who we have signed, she was playing with DLR Waves in the Women's National League in Dublin. So we have added a lot of good key players, so we are hoping to push this year and get those results that we weren't able to get last year."
Kenny Shiels' Northern Ireland Women's team, who secured their place at next year's European Championship finals in England, after defeating Ukraine in the play-off and Logue feels the recent success can only help the game throughout the country.
"We are all hoping that achievement will be the catalyst and it will really make people just stand up and take notice of the game, because we have been working away at it for years and it's only now that people are starting to notice things," she added.
"Even now the interest has increased, as people are now stopping me at work and asking how things were going and I think that's just because there's that wee bit extra media coverage.
"The Northern Ireland Women's team games were televised and everything and in the South the Women's National League is streaming alongside the League of Ireland, which is great and I think they are going to try and get a couple of televised matches within the Irish League as well and that's what we want."
Logue also praised the former Candy Stripes boss, as she remembers when Shiels took a few training sessions when the women's team were on the look out for a new manager.
"Before Kenny left Derry, we were without a manager for a good couple of weeks and he was in taking training sessions with us," she explained.
"To be fair he working hard behind the scenes and as he was a manager with a big club, he was still willing to come in on a Monday and Tuesday and coach us until we got a manager, so you could see that the passion is with him regardless whether it's women's football or men's football, it's just football and he's now doing a great job with the Northern Ireland women's team and hopefully he continues to do well and starts to put women's football on the map here in the North."