The FAI and Bus Éireann today launched the 2012 season of the Bus Éireann Women's National League which kicks off this weekend.

Representatives from all of the clubs, Castlebar, Cork, Peamount, Raheney, Shamrock Rovers and Wexford Youths were present at Aviva Stadium for the launch as well as the latest addition to the League, DLR Waves which is being set up with the support of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council. The club will train out of the council facility in Stepaside. It will have its own academy structure from day one and will work closely with all of the local clubs in its area.

Going into its second year, the league has established itself as the cornerstone of women's football in this country, enabling so many of Ireland's top female players to improve their performance at home by competing at the highest level.

Since the launch of the FAI's Women's Development plan in 2006, enormous inroads have been made in the national development of the women's game. Registered numbers of female players have doubled, coaching and standards have improved nationwide and there are now 31 women's leagues operating throughout the country. A comprehensive emerging talent programme has been rolled out and international rankings have gone up at all age levels.

But all of that work would have been incomplete without the addition of the Bus Éireann Women's National League.

The League produced a great first season which was kept tight up to the end. Peamount United eventually emerged as League winners just ahead of Raheny. The Peas also completed the double with a 1-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers to lift the cup.

From an international point of view, the league enabled the stars of our under 17s and 19s and those on the periphery of our international teams to continue to play and grow in this country and avoid the fall off in participation that inevitably happens around this age, so often because the options simply aren't there for young players.

The Bus Éireann Women's National league kicks off this Sunday, August 26

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