At 19 years old, Katie Malone is something of a latecomer to the Women's National League but she's certainly making up for lost time.

When announced as one of four strikers in the DLR Waves squad - as well as being awarded the No 10 jersey - it was something of a surprise, mainly because few had seen her in action.

The Dubliner had previously played for the MGL Academy before moving on to St John Bosco but she was not someone who was being tipped to lead the line for one of the League's nine clubs.

DLR manager Graham Kelly, however, was willing to take a gamble and it paid off immediately with Malone scoring on her League debut in the draw away to Galway WFC in Week 1.

"I first saw Katie playing for the MGL against us in a friendly and I spoke with Phil Henry (coach) about her and he spoke very highly of her. From there, we spoke to Katie around this time last year about signing but she said that she wasn't ready," said Kelly.

"She wanted to finish her season out with St John Bosco but would come up to train with us. You can only admire her for that. But we knew that she had the ability to play in the Women's National League so we were prepared to wait.

"She is a really exciting player and will only get better. We are trying to add different things to her game now. She is a natural goalscorer, but her hold-up play is really good, she can also play in behind. For me, she is going to be a really top player in this League."

Malone is one of 19 players to get off the mark after two games played in the 2020 season and her team-mates are already suggesting that she could be a contender for the Golden Boot award for top goalscorer.

There is a lot of football to be played before that contest is settled, but Kelly reckons the DIT student (she is studying Nutraceuticals in Health and Nutrition) is only getting started.

"This shortened season is great for her because it will give her an experience of what the League is. She got off to a great start away to Galway and I was delighted to see her get a lot of compliments on the back of that performance," stated Kelly.

"She really has the full package to become a top player. She has all of the basic skills so we have to fine-tune those over the next few months to help her get to that next level.

"This is only the first step but she's willing to work hard and that is fantastic because it will help her in her development. We really feel that she can score lots of goals in this League but also contribute to the team in other ways too."

Back in action on Wednesday evening, DLR chase their first win of the season having drawn with Galway and lost narrowly to Shelbourne. Next up is a clash with League leaders Peamount United.

Kelly will be hoping that his team can upset the champions' rhythm and he may just have the player to help them achieve that in Malone.