UCD look set to revisit the halcyon days of a decade following the introduction of the UCD Waves Ladies Football Club who will compete in the Women’s National League 2014-15.
Between 2002 and 2004, the students were the queens of the FAI Senior Cup, winning a spectacular three in-a-row and they will hope to get back into that threshold in their latest incarnation.
An Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Marie Baker launched the initiative last week that has seen the DLR Waves and UCD Ladies Football Club merge in order to enhance the grassroots development of women’s football and create a developmental player pathway within Dan Laoghaire-Rathdown.
Initially, DLR Waves had mixed success within the league, however, for the initiative to succeed in its mission, it needed to build a stronger platform.
Joe Carrick, general manager of the new entity, is well versed in women’s soccer at local level having worked with UCD as well as Cabinteely FC.
And he told GazetteSport the aim of the new club is to promote the sport in the local community.
“The main aim of the new club is to [promote the sport] for students of UCD and for the residents of the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county council area,” he said. “That’s what we are pushing for.”
The club is in a unique position to be able to offer strong sports scholarships under the Ad Astra programme to elite players while also promoting the game at grassroots level.
“From the Ad Astra scholarship side of things, we are looking to encourage more players to apply for that. From the community side of things, the girls will go out to schools in the area, coaching sessions, talking to girls in the area to show them the option that is there for them – a sporting and an educational tie-in.”
Eileen Gleeson has taken on the manager’s role for the upcoming season following a glittering spell in charge of Peamount United and she will have a side laden with international experience at her disposal.
Six of the current national panel that took on Slovenia this week will don the Waves colours this season with the vastly experienced Aine O’Gorman among them.
She will be joined by Republic of Ireland team mates Seana Cooke, Dora Gorman, Karen Duggan, Julie Ann Russell and Ciara Grant while Republic of Ireland Under-19 captain Chloe Mustaki is another in the fold as one of the UCD Ad Astra sports scholars.
Their season began last week with a comfortable FAI Cup win over Shelbourne and they start their league campaign on Sunday at Jackson Park against Galway United.
With a formidable squad in tow, Carrick is anticipating some strong performances.
“Hopefully, with the squad we have we can put on a good show. Our aim would be to win the league and get into Europe in the coming years.”