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Bryan Keane/INPHO Jessica Hennessy: 'It's the right time for me to move forward in my career and embark on a new journey for the 2023 season.'
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Shamrock Rovers announce capture of Athlone star as Galway name new manager
There’s been plenty of movement in the Women’s National League this weekend.

SHAMROCK ROVERS HAVE announced the signing of Athlone Town star defender Jessica Hennessy.

The towering centre-back excelled for the Midlanders this season, included in the 2022 Women’s National League [WNL] Team of the Year after an impressive second-place finish and an FAI Cup final appearance.

What comes as a huge loss for Athlone is a major gain for Rovers, with Hennessy joining former Peamount United trio Áine O’Gorman, Summer Lawless and Alannah McEvoy at one of the WNL’s newest teams.

Also a talented Gaelic footballer, the Westmeath native and former Shelbourne player says it’s the “right time to move forward in my career”.

“I am really excited to be joining Shamrock Rovers,” 21-year-old Hennessy said. “I am looking forward to a new challenge with the club.

“Rovers is a perfect fit for me they are very professional club and I think it’s the right time for me to move forward in my career and embark on a new journey for the 2023 season.”

Manager Collie O’Neill said: “Jessica has had an exceptional year; she is a commanding and dominant centre-half and also has the great ability of being able to step-in when in possession. She is a young, hungry player and I believe that she has a great future ahead of her.”

“Jessica is a tremendous young player with a fantastic attitude,” Head of Women’s Football Jason Carey added. “I have very high hopes for her future, she is someone who has all the attributes that we are looking for as we build our new squad.”

Elsewhere in the WNL this weekend, DLR Waves and Bohemians announced several pieces of transfer news while Phil Trill was confirmed as manager of Galway United.

The 29-year-old makes history as the club’s first-ever manager for the senior women’s side after moving on from his near five-year spell at Galway WFC.

Trill was assistant manager to Alan Murphy at the Tribeswomen last year, and previously enjoyed successful, trophy-laden spells as U17 and U19 head coach, and youth development manager. He has also worked with several underage men’s teams.

“I’m delighted to have this opportunity,” Trill said. “To be the first-ever manager to take a women’s team into Galway United is very exciting.

“I’m very thankful to everybody for the opportunity they’ve given me and the trust they’ve shown in me. I’m looking forward to leading the club forward.”

“We want to get a good sustainable brand of football on the pitch,” he added. “We’re all about pobal, peil and paisean and I’m a big believer in putting our best forward and playing possession based, attractive football. If we can hit our key principles over the pre-season, that will stand us in good stead for having an exciting brand of football for Galway United fans to watch.”

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DLR confirmed the arrivals of Chelsey Spain and Isobel Finnegan, the former an attacking midfielder from St Pats CY who previously played for the club in 2013 before going to USA on a scholarship, and the latter a defensive midfielder crossing the city from Bohemians.

Central midfielder Fiona Donnelly went the other way, joining re-signings Ciara Maher, Rachael Kelly, Katie Burdis, Rachel Doyle and Lisa Murphy in putting pen to paper at Bohs.

DLR also announced departures in Avril Brierley and Carla McManus, as they “have decided to embark on a new journey for the 2023 season”.

Athlone Town’s US-born duo Madie Gibson and Dana Scheriff re-signed for next season.

Earlier this week, the FAI announced the introduction of professional contracts for players in the WNL from the 2023 season onwards.

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