Women's football in Northern Ireland is on rise
In another significant step forward for women's football in Northern Ireland, guests at Belfast City Hall last night welcomed the new 2016 Danske Bank Women's Premiership season.
Danske Bank back the men's league and the sponsors are also excited to be a part of this historic initiative. The Northern Ireland Football League has taken over the running of the league and representatives and players from all eight teams dropped into City Hall last night.
Londonderry will be represented by Derry City Ladies and the encouraging aspect of the new project is that it should generate much more interest in the women's game across the province.
Maura Muldoon, Chairperson of the Women's Premiership Committee, said: "To have Danske Bank as sponsor of the new Women's Premiership in our inaugural season is wonderful.
"Danske Bank is an international brand and this sponsorship deal is evidence of the ambition of the NIFL to build the women's brand of football.
"With their support I have no doubt that we can establish the brand by producing an exciting season of women's football, with the winners going on to compete in European competition."
Nicola McCleery, Head of Marketing at Danske Bank, said: "We are delighted to support the Women's Premiership at what is a really exciting time for women's football in Northern Ireland.
"We hope our support will help give Northern Irish women's football at all levels the status and recognition it deserves and inspire many more girls and young women to get involved and to reach their full potential."
The season kicks-off on Wednesday. Last season's top two will meet in Matchday 1 with champions Newry City Ladies hosting Linfield Ladies. Solitude is the venue for Cliftonville Ladies v Sion Swifts Ladies, while Crusaders Strikers face Glentoran Belfast United at Seaview.
The final game of round one sees Mid-Ulster Ladies welcome newly promoted Derry City Ladies to Cookstown.