Recently Ireland underage starlet Clare Shine secured a move to Scottish giants Glasgow City FC and Extratime.ie spoke with Clare about her highs and lows in football.
The Cork native like many young girls grew up in a sporting family, her brother Philip is the current Douglas GAA Senior Football captain and dad Liam was a good footballer in his own right.
Shine began her soccer career with Douglas Hall and it was here that her bright talents were first noticed. Clare first represented Ireland at the age of 13 when she was selected for the under 15s schools team.
In 2010 Clare was a member of the under 17s squad which reached the European Championship final before being defeated by Spain, an experience and a trip she will never forget.
“It was an amazing experience beating Germany in the Semi Final, especially to do it with a very close group of teammates was a massive plus and made the trip a lot more enjoyable.”
Despite suffering defeat in the final, Ireland qualified for the World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago, where they reached the quarter final stage before being eliminated by Japan.
With the introduction of the Women’s National League in 2012, Clare represented her local Cork City, before joining Raheny United in 2013. In her first season with the Panda’s, Shine tasted instant success as Raheny secured a league and FAI cup double.
While enjoying success with Raheny, Shine also revealed there was a low point when she suffered a leg break in April 2014 while playing against Wexford Youths.
“The leg break occurred when I went for a 50/50 challenge, but unfortunately I came out the worst of it”
As the injury occurred in April, Clare was left in a race to be fit for the summers under 19s European Championship, although she won the battle to play in the competition and helped Ireland reach the Semi Final, the Cork native revealed that people back home did not expect the girls to succeed in Norway.
“The Euro’s was an amazing experience as we did so well reaching the Semi Finals after coming out of such a tough group, I don't think anyone in Ireland, but ourselves believed we could get out of the group and to prove to them we were good enough was a great feeling.”
When Clare returned from Norway, she was thrust straight back into club action as Raheny prepared for the UEFA Champions League Qualifiers in Romania, where they would reach the last 32. Shine described playing in the Champions League as a huge achievement, but she was devastated that injury would limit her involvement.
“To say you’ve played in the Champions League is always going to be special and reaching the last 32 was amazing, but unfortunately I was only able to play 30 minutes against Bristol in the first leg, which lead me to not being able to play the second leg, it was a risk I was willing to take.”
After Raheny exited the competition, Clare revealed she made the decision to step away from football as her leg was not 100%.
“It was a decision I made, I was in a dark place at the time, which gave me a hatred towards playing football, I lost complete interest.”
Shine explained that the time away from the pitch was one of the hardest periods of her young career as she could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. Although Clare’s love for the football had diminished, she is quick to praise the people who help her through the dark period.
“I have a strong family, my friends and teammates were also there when I needed them”
After enduring several months of frustration, in March 2015 Clare finally saw her patience and hard work pay off when she was a second half substitute for Raheny United in their 3-2 defeat against UCD Waves, a moment Clare described as emotional.
“Getting on the pitch again was emotional as it was the same day my best friend Chloe Mustaki made her come back too, she was someone who has inspired me and I’m delighted I was able to share that moment with her”
After finishing the WNL season by helping Raheny United win the League Cup, Clare went on trial with Glasgow City after fellow Cork native Denise O’Sullivan suggest that she move to the Glasgow club.
“Denise was over here the last 2 years and she was on to me asking would I be interested and obviously it was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass.”
After impressing the City management, Shine was officially announced as a Glasgow player on May 29. After making her debut two days later in a 6-1 victory, she explained the standard of football in Scotland was higher than she was used to back home..
“It’s a completely different standard to Ireland, the pace and intensity is much higher which will take a while to get used to but I'm looking forward to the remainder of the season.”
With the injuries now behind her, Clare is hoping that her performances for Glasgow will earn her a call up to Sue Ronan’s Ireland senior squad.
“I hope to be called into the senior squad and to be competing for a place in the squad for European Qualifiers.”