The Danske Bank Women’s Premiership 2021 season got underway on Wednesday night with Linfield, Cliftonville and Glentoran all recording victories.
The Blues saw off Sion Swifts 3-0, as Cliftonville wrapped up a four-goal win at Derry City and defending champions Glentoran edged out Crusaders 1-0.
Here is the reaction from around the clubs.
Mia Fitzsimmons, Linfield
“It was a really good performance from everyone.
“As soon as the game began we knew what we had to do to get the three points.
“It took us a while to settle into the game and find our rhythm but once we did, they couldn’t get anywhere near us and as soon as we got the first goal that set us up for the rest of the game.”
Megan Moran, Cliftonville
“It’s great to have the new girls in especially as they are international players.
“Those arrivals show the intent and ambition of the club but all the players in this team have the same cohesive goal for the season and everyone is working so hard.
“We have all gelled together so well it’s as if we have been playing together for a couple of seasons.
“The only disappointed people tonight will be those who couldn’t get on the scoresheet.”
Danielle Maxwell, Glentoran
“The ball just came to me at the back post - luckily I was in the right place to get the tap in.”
“We were a bit rusty at the start of the game but we did well and it was good to get three points.”
Kevin McLaughlin, Derry City manager
"The excitement and buzz in and around our squad last night was nothing that I had ever seen before since the start of my tenure as DCFC Women’s manager. And despite the result everyone was still really confident about the path that we are on after the performance we put in last night. We are all well aware that we are not the finished article yet, but everything that we have worked on so far during pre-season was proved during the match last night. The players are starting to believe in it and we will continue to build upon that.
"It’s no secret that we are massive underdogs going into every single game in this league and for us its has to be about continuing to make progress. And we are!, We look solid defensively and teams are finding us much more difficult to break down in open play.
"Our biggest step forward though is that we are now starting to become an offensive threat and we look like scoring goals throughout the 90 minutes. We feel we were unfortunate not to come in at half-time level with Cliftonville and it could be argued that we may have come in 2-1 up.
"However, the other side of this coin is that we are now finding ourselves higher up the pitch in attacking positions. Because of this teams are now scoring their goals against us on their counter attack and this is something we have never had to deal with much before. But we obviously welcome this fact as this proves the progress that we are making.
"Our next step is to prioritize our transition to defensive positions after our own attacking play. If we can improve in this area next, it will be another step forward to bridging that gap between us and the five established sides above us."