FAI Hall of Fame inductee and legendary Dublin football figure Linda Gorman believes her dreams will come true again next year when Vera Pauw’s Ireland take to the World Cup stage in Australia – 50 years after her own international debut in Wales.
Gorman was inducted into the Hall of Fame, alongside goalkeeping legend Shay Given, this week with her award due recognition for a career of firsts that including playing in Ireland’s first women’s internationals, away to Wales in 1973 and home to Northern Ireland.
She also captained her country, managed the international team, played in the first women’s game with an official referee and became the first female coach to guide a Schoolboys team to a domestic treble. And she is still playing walking football!
Describing her honour as a ‘dream come true’ a very proud Linda spoke to FAI TV about her own career and her hopes and aspirations for Vera Pauw’s team as they head to Australia next summer and outlined some of the opportunities that she believes a first World Cup experience will present for women’s football in Ireland.
“This Hall of Fame award is a dream come true. I never thought that 50 years after my first international for Ireland I would be remembered and recognised so I am quite honoured.
“Football is a team sport and I feel privileged that I was selected from all the girls I’ve played with and worked with. I know I have had a huge career in football but this is for all the people I played with and the people I played against, for all the girls who haven’t been recognized, for all the stuff that they have done in women’s football, for the unsung heroes, for the guys who coached us to where we are now.”
Looking ahead to next summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup final, the former Ireland player, captain and manager is hugely excited by the opportunities this historic tournament will present on the pitch in Australia and back home.
She added: “It will be 50 years from my first Ireland international in 1973 next year and here we are, going to the World Cup finals for the first time ever.
“It is the stuff that dreams are made of. It’s unbelievable what these players have achieved and I am so proud of every one of them. I look at Aine O’Gorman for example who is home based and an inspiration for anyone who thinks they have to go to England to play for Ireland.
“The World Cup will be such an opportunity. We will hopefully have the best players in the world in a playground where everyone can see the biggest stars. It can be inspiring and I would like to see now that maybe some of our former women’s players will come back to the game, coach and manage and help us to make the most of this World Cup.
“Would I like to play in the World Cup? I would love to have the opportunity to be playing in a World Cup but I would not trade it for the career I have had because of the wonderful opportunities.
The people I have met and those who have been fantastic influences on my life. It is a new era now with this fantastic Ireland team and it is upwards we have to go.”
Linda Gorman and Shay Given’s induction into the Hall of Fame completes the line-up of winners in the 32nd FAI International awards.
They are joined in the winner’s enclosure by Under 19 Players of the Year Bosun Lawal of Celtic and Jessie Stapleton of Shelbourne. The Under 18s Men’s award went to Alex Murphy of Newcastle United while Cork City’s Mark O’Mahony and Orlaith O’Mahony of Shamrock Rovers won the Under 17 accolades.
Naj Razi of Shamrock Rovers and Jodie Loughrey from the Donegal Women’s League were named Under 16 Players of the Year while Kaylam Harnett of Wexford FC took the under 15 honours.
Hall of Fame Inductee Linda Gorman spoke of her pride at receiving the honour at a ceremony last week
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