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Noelle Murray: 'Leaving Ireland was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made'

Mon, Jan 16 2017

Murray scored twice as Shels beat UCD Waves 3-2 in the Women's National League Cup final. Credit: Tom Beary (ETPhotos)

IF you had to pick the perfect sign-off when leaving a football club, Noelle Murray may just have nailed it.

 

Winning a domestic league title in its own right is a great achievement. Adding a cup victory to that is a huge bonus, but the honour of being named Senior Player of the Year is the triple crown of domestic footballing achievements.

 

Murray, who has played in the Women’s National League since its inception, first with Shamrock Rovers and then with Raheny United and Shelbourne Ladies, has signed a professional contract with Glasgow City.

 

Signing off this phase of her footballing career with an award voted on by her peers was a perfect send off.

 

“It’s amazing picking up Player of the Year after such a good year with Shelbourne,” Murray told extratime.ie. “To know all the girls out of the league voted for you is an absolute honour.”

 

The path from WNL to Glasgow City has been traversed previously with Savannah McCarthy and Keeva Keenan currently on their books, while Clare Shine spent the 2016 season at the club.

 

For 27-year-old Murray, the decision to move wasn't one that was made easily.

 

“It was probably one of the hardest decisions I've ever made,” she explained.

 

“I've always wanted to go away and play and try something new and I finally done it.

 

“Without everyone at home pushing me on to do so I probably would have never done it. Everyone's so supportive back home.”

 

The former Shels forward has had a very successful WNL career to date, with three league titles, numerous FAI Cup medals as well as reaching the last 32 in the Champions League.

 

It’s an experience Murray has thoroughly enjoyed, and she believes the players and the league will go from strength to strength.

 

“All the years I've played WNL have been great from my days with Shamrock Rovers to Raheny United to Shels. The League is improving and improving and the talent is getting better and better.

 

“I can see it improving every year. The clubs’ talent and facilities are brilliant and the effort everyone puts in is unbelievable.”

 

When asked if the day could come when WNL sides could offer professional contracts, Murray was optimistic.

 

“Anything is possible. The WNL has everything bar professional contracts. I could see them being the next step in the league. The talent of the younger ones I've seen playing is great.”

 

And who should we keep an eye out for in 2017?

 

“I'll keep it with Shels and say keep an eye on Leanne Kiernan, Alex Kavanagh and Heather Payne from Peamount United.”

 

Glasgow City play in the Scottish Women’s Premier League and their first league fixture of the 2017 season is against Stirling University on the 12th March. Extratime.ie will keep you up to date on Noelle Murray’s and her Irish teammates progress as well as all Irish players playing abroad.