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From the farm to London: Irish teen sensation Kiernan earns move to West Ham

The 19-year-old Cavan striker has signed for the Women’s Super League club.

The 19-year-old has joined the Hammers.
The 19-year-old has joined the Hammers.
Image: Twitter/West Ham Ladies

IRELAND TEEN SENSATION Leanne Kiernan has moved across the water to FA Women’s Super League club West Ham United.

The 19-year-old Cavan striker has made a big name for herself in both the Women’s National League and on the international stage of late, and is now primed to bring her career to the next level overseas.

A star with Shelbourne, Kiernan well and truly established herself in the 2016 Women’s FAI Cup final when she hit a hat-trick in the Aviva Stadium.

After climbing through the underage Ireland ranks, she made her senior debut later that year and found the back of the net on that occasions.

Since then, she’s become a regular starter for Colin Bell’s charges and has been a key player through the 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Girls in Green’s dream of reaching the finals in France was ended last month by Norway, while the wait to reach a first-ever major tournament goes on.

Kiernan will undoubtedly be there as the quest continues, benefiting from this switch to the top tier in England.

“I’m delighted to be joining West Ham, as it’s the next step in a brilliant adventure for me,” said Kiernan. “It’s a big step over the water, but the girls are lovely and I’m really enjoying it.

It’s a great club to join. There is so much ambition to this club and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this season goes.

“It makes it a bit easier that everybody is in the same boat as me as we’re new to West Ham. Everybody is friendly and it feels like home! We only arrived a few weeks ago, but it already feels like we’ve been friends for years as we all get on very well.”

Leanne Kiernan celebrates scoring her sides first goal Kiernan celebrates scoring against Slovakia. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

West Ham were recently granted a licence to play in the 2018/19 Super League — competing with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City in the first full-time, professional division for female players in England.

Kiernan joins a host of big names at the Hammers — managed by Matthew Beard — including newly-signed England defender Gilly Flaherty and fellow Three Lions star and Olympian Claire Rafferty.

She added: “I’m looking forward to giving it a go and seeing how I get on. Hopefully it’ll go well. Anybody coming here wants to be in the starting eleven, so I’ll work hard, get my head down and hopefully get a place.

“We want to get our names out there as West Ham this season and show we’re not just in the league to take part. We want to make our mark.

I’m used to being at home on the farm, but now I’m living in a big city like London! It’s been good so far. I’m living with two of the girls and learning all the new things I need to do now I’m living away from home for the first time.

“Every summer, my job used to be at home looking after the pigs, but now things are very different!”

- Updated at 14.55

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Emma Duffy

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