A good thing can't always last forever, so when a team loses a key player then have to accept that it's time to move on without them.

Sometimes, however, fate brings that player back to the same team and they both get an opportunity to rekindle their relationship.

That is certainly the case with four players returning to the SSE Airtricity Women's National League from college in the United States.

Let's take a closer look at what they can bring to their respective team...

Maria O'Sullivan (Cork City)
There was a very good reason why she was selected as team captain for the truncated season in 2020 and that was because O'Sullivan was emerging as a key leader in the Cork City changing room.

The agile shot-stopper proved herself throughout that campaign as The Leesiders reached the FAI Women's Senior Cup Final. She was simply outstanding and was a contender for the Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Then she opted to make the move to New York where a place at Fordham University was waiting. In her absence, Abby McCarthy has done really well between the posts in a difficult start to the season for Cork but O'Sullivan could just help to settle things down again.

If Cork are to start recording clean sheets then O'Sullivan may be what they need as the last line of defence.


Lucia Lobato (Galway WFC)
It feels that the WNL still hasn't seen the very best of Lobato over an extended period of time and once she moved to the University of Akon that was going to delayed even further.

Able to play in defence or midfield, Lobato brings a versatility and dynamism that new Galway boss Stephen Lally will be thankful for with the player available for selection once again.

Galway have probably struggled in their transition play at times this season so having someone like Lobato, who can break the lines with ease, provides them with an outlet that simply wasn't there when the campaign kicked off.

It will be interesting to see if she can hold down a regular starting space for how long she is available for - and what position that is in.


Rebecca Cooke (Shelbourne)
When Noel King took charge of The Reds this season, he would surely have been hoping that Cooke was one of the players at his disposal considering how well she performed in the 2020 campaign.

However, the Dubliner moved to Quinnipiac University in Connecticut to pursue her studies and that deprived Shels of a powerful player able to occupy either flank - either at full-back or on the wing.

Curiously, King may opt to use Cooke in a more central player to get the most out of her height - particularly at set-pieces - but that remains to be seen. In fact, it is unknown if she can break into his plans such is the talent available in the squad.

There is no doubt that Cooke brings something extra to games, as evidenced by an impressive goalscoring cameo in the win over Athlone Town. All eyes will be on the teamsheet to see where she fits in.


Blessing Kingsley (Wexford Youths)
Possibly one of the fastest players in the League, Kingsley sparked the Wexford attack to life in their duel with champions Peamount United when introduced as a second-half substitute.

The Carlow native had been marked as a rising star in the League over the last two years and featured regularly for Tom Elmes' side last season before making the move to Southern Mississippi.

Now that she is back, Wexford can look to her to get in behind opposing defenders - especially with Vanessa Ogbonna unavailable - and her combination of pace & dribbling will get them higher up the pitch.

Kingsley also knows where the goal is, so she will be looking to contribute to the team in that aspect too.