‘An honour’ – Hansberry is committed to Rovers

Sligo Rovers’ WNL senior team manager Steve Feeney signed a statement on Tuesday as the club announced the signing of local Emma Hansberry, the first official for the Sligo Rovers team to begin its first season in the Women’s National League. Signature done.

The Sligo native – a former Republic of Ireland international and a key figure for the women’s game in the county – will proudly wear the Bit O’ Red for the 2022 season as manager Steve Feeney begins to assemble his squad.

Hansberry is a very popular player, and after a few years away from the WNL, his return to the league is great news, as is the fact that he has committed to this new Rovers team.

The announcement was made as the club confirmed that all supporters who purchased season tickets for the men’s team would receive free access to WNL games at The Showgrounds.

The move is in line with the idea that both sides are under the same umbrella and get the support of a dedicated Rovers fanbase.

Hansberry played for Castlebar Celtic in the inaugural Women’s National League in 2011 and then played for Wexford as she represented the Republic of Ireland.

During his time at Castlebar he starred in the WNL Team of the Season and was awarded the Young Player of the Year in Ireland.

In the 2013 FAI Women’s Cup Final at Aviva Stadium, Hansberry played well for Castlebar Celtic’s underdog in a narrow loss to Rahani United.

At Wexford he made an even better performance and won the Cup, winning the league three times as well as competing in the Champions League.

Now, at the age of 27, and with Bit O’ Redd making a move to senior football, the midfielder will be playing for his hometown club.

He said: “It is an honor to have the opportunity to play for Sligo Rovers. I knew one day Sligo Rovers would have a team in the WNL, but I didn’t think it would come that soon. It is a pleasure to line up for Sligo Rovers this season and credit to everyone for making it happen.

“When I was growing up, there weren’t equal opportunities. To be able to have girls play at such a high level and have national leagues at senior and younger age levels, I don’t think the players know how lucky they are.” It is far more enjoyable to be a part of it.

“The standard is high, the clubs have great depth and there is a path. For our girls in Sligo they had to go elsewhere for other clubs before they got into the league at a younger age.

“That has changed now and it makes me so happy to see it and even more so a part of it. You want to come to Sligo Rovers in the next few years instead of leaving the girls.

“When I was playing in my early days I had to go to Wexford for four hours each way to play matches. Now we want to play in Sligo, move to Sligo, study in Sligo in IT and Sligo Rovers play for.

“Interest is going to skyrocket in the next few years. The support we have received so far from the club for the team is amazing.

“All of them are emphasizing on total professionalism. We train on the club’s training pitch, we play on the main pitch and we get everything we need.

“Everything is possible at the highest level and if it is happening from day one it is really very exciting. It shows that this is going to be a team and club of the highest caliber and in the long term the intentions are to be the best in the country. one of them.”

More signings will be confirmed by the club this week. Academy teams will be used when players join the squad, meaning Hansberry will be a senior player in the group.

He is happy to take on the role and admitting that even the progress of skilled players will help him bring out the best.

“At 27, I will probably be one of the oldest girls ever. No matter what age you are, every single player will bring out different qualities. Everyone contributes differently. I have played in the league for a few years before this.

“I hope I can bring some experience to little girls – especially those moving on from under-17s or under-19s – because I myself know how hard it can be to be a lot older than you. How hard it can be to play against or with players.

“I will do my best to help them along the way. On the other hand, I will learn a lot from them as they are very technical and skilled. His fitness level is through the roof. They will benefit me as much as I will benefit them.

“It will take time to find our feet. We will never enter a game with a negative mindset. It will be positive in every way and I am sure there will be tough games. It is important that we build on the fundamentals by being hard, hard to beat and very strong defensively. Those are the things we need to bring.

“We’ll have a lot of games that are tough or don’t go our way. There will be defeats and painful defeats because we’re starting out. We have to take them but also know that we can win games too. Will be trying to hold on and win, knowing this is just the beginning and not something we can achieve overnight.”

Rovers has trained twice so far to assess players and form groups. Manager Steve Feeney will confirm his backroom team soon. Hansberry has been impressed since the first seasons under the manager, but was not surprised given what she knew about the Rovers boss.

Steve’s knowledge is first-class. He is very excited about what has unfolded in our first two seasons. It will be a tough job for them but exciting at the same time. I am glad to see Steve appointed.

“He is from Sligo, he is associated with Sligo Rovers and will wear his heart on his sleeve when it comes to this team. He has the pedigree of being a great coach for any team and has been named the first Sligo Rovers manager The club’s goal is to keep as the level shows.

“He also has a lovely way of thinking about him as a person. Managing a women’s team is quite different from a men’s team, you have to have certain characteristics, and Steve is a great fit. Any player here can coach And will appreciate him as a manager. I think he is going to be a great manager.”