On Sunday the first matches are played in the Republic of Ireland's new national women's league and Peamount United pair Grace Murray and Louise Quinn believe it will prove a huge boost for the game in their country.
In all, six teams will take part in the competition, backed by funding from the UEFA women's football development programme (WFDP). Peamount will be expected to feature strongly having had Ireland's best ever run in the UEFA Women's Champions League, reaching the round of 32 before falling to Paris Saint-Germain FC. They had qualified for Europe via the knockout FAI Women's Cup.
Defender Murray, also a regular in the Republic of Ireland side currently targeting their first UEFA European Women's Championship finals having made the play-offs last time, told UEFA.com: "The new league takes the elite players from all over the country into seven different teams to play together so, on a weekly basis, we'll be playing at the highest level in our country and hopefully it will help us internationally as well.
"It might push some of the girls on to a stage where the international manager will see them because at the moment it is hard for the managers to see everyone.
"It is a vast country even though it is small," she added with a smile, "but there's only a few selectors to have a look at people. With seven teams they might have a better look at everyone."
Midfielder Quinn, whose hat-trick in the 7-0 qualifying round defeat of ŽNK Krka proved crucial to Peamount's European progress, agrees. "It's definitely going to be a big boost to Irish women's football, it will improve it massively," she said. "There are so many talented players in Ireland in all teams around our country and this is the sort of league you have in France, in England, in most of the countries apart from Ireland.
"This is definitely going to step things up a gear. It might bring out skills that people didn't think they had because there'll be more money put into the league. It will help us improve as players and come together as a team in a league where all the best players are going to be competing against each other. You want to be playing against the best to become the best."
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