Lauren Dwyer named Bus Éireann Women’s National League Player of the Month

WEXFORD Youths Women’s AFC teenager Lauren Dwyer has been named Bus Éireann Women’s National League Player of the Month for March.

The Republic of Ireland U17 international has emerged as one of the most exciting young players in the league after a string of impressive displays for the Model County side.

“I couldn’t believe it when I was told that I was the player of the month. There’s so many great players in the league and I’ve seen other people win it so I was shocked when I got it myself,” said the 16-year-old Carlow native.

“Playing in the league has definitely improved my game. It’s definitely benefitted me for the international game. You see great players like Louise Quinn emerging in this league and being signed by a big club in Sweden and I know there are a lot of very good players in this league.”

Wexford Youths have emerged as a force to be reckoned with this term and have come close to splitting the league’s big two – Peamount United and Raheny United – who have been the standard bearers of women’s football in Ireland in recent seasons.

“There’s definitely room for improvement with us. We still have a long way to go to get where we want to be. It’s good that we’re being recognised now as contenders in the league and the cup,” said Dwyer, who can play in midfield or defence.

“The advantage Peamount United and Raheny United have over us is that they were clubs before the Women’s National League was set-up whereas Wexford Youths Women’s AFC is only as old as the league is. We’re only two years old as a club. The improvements we can make is to be more clinical on the pitch but we probably have to develop a few more things off the pitch too.”

Dwyer is a remarkably precocious talent as she is still in transition year in St Leo’s secondary school in Carlow but the teenager is very focused on what she wants to achieve on and off the pitch.

“I did my Junior Cert last year. The football wasn’t too big of a distraction. Once you know how to control both of them it’s easy enough to do,” she explained.

“My ambition is to make the senior international team and hopefully earn a full-time contract somewhere and keep doing what I love doing which is playing football.

“I used to play for St Joseph’s, a boys team in Carlow, up until two years ago and then we set up a girls team as there wasn’t one in the area. It was mostly just my friends we got the team together to play for fun really and then I played in the Gaynor Cup and was seen by the international manager. After that I was asked to go to Wexford Youths and it’s been very positive.”

Dwyer is a key member of the Republic of Ireland U17 international side that had a nightmare experience in the UEFA Championships second qualifying round last week when they lost their opening two fixtures then had their final game against Norway snowed off.

Now Dave Connell’s side have been told they must return to Vienna this Sunday to finish off the qualifying group. Dwyer remains upbeat about the experience: “The U17s team was unfortunate. We lost to Poland 2-1 in the first game.

“ We played well but it just wasn’t our week and to top it all off we lost 4-1 to Austria and then didn’t get to play the third game against Norway because of the snow so now we have to go back over to Austria again to play the Norwegians next weekend. It wasn’t great for us but these things happen in sport.

“We didn’t show our best in those games. We could have won both games or at least drawn. The preparation had been good going into the tournament but we just didn’t perform as well as we can do. It kind of got to us being in the elite phase perhaps but it was nice to get to that level.

“The weather didn’t help. It was freezing cold and snowing some days so we didn’t know if our matches would be on or off so it was a stop-start situation all the time. We’ll go over for the last game looking to end on a positive. Ireland have never beaten Norway in an women’s U17s international so that’s an incentive for us to end the group on a high.”


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