It was an emotional weekend for Clare Shine who made her final appearance for Glasgow City in their 2-0 win over Hearts on Sunday, the 27-year-old from Cork, who won seven senior Irish caps, having announced the day before that she would be retiring from football.
“Throughout the last few years I have struggled both mentally and physically to reach the demands as a professional footballer and with that I have decided it’s time for me to put myself first and step away from football,” she said. “My happiness and well-being needs to come first and I’m excited to begin the next chapter of my life.”
Shine will continue in her role as a project coordinator with the club’s City Foundation, which works with young girls in the local community. She was given a standing ovation when she was substituted with 15 minutes to go by former Republic of Ireland assistant manager Eileen Gleeson in a game that featured three other Irish internationals, Glasgow’s Clare Walsh and Emily Whelan, and Hearts’ Ciara Grant.
Down in England, Glasgow City’s former loanee Katie McCabe was part of an Arsenal defence that registered a record eighth consecutive Super League clean sheet with a 4-0 win over Spurs, in front of a crowd of 47,367 at the Emirates Stadium - the highest ever attendance in the Super League.
They could do with a similarly solid performance in Tuesday’s return leg away to Ajax in the Champions League after drawing 1-1 with them in their qualifying game last week.
Goalkeepers Courtney Brosnan and Megan Walsh were the only other Irish players to finish on the winning sides in the weekend’s Super League games, Brosnan keeping a clean sheet in Everton’s zinger of a 3-0 win in the Merseyside derby at Anfield - a week after Liverpool beat reigning champions Chelsea. Niamh Fahey and Megan Campbell both started for Liverpool, but will want to swiftly erase the game from their memories.
Walsh’s Brighton, meanwhile, beat Reading, who had Grace Moloney in goal, 2-1. Diane Caldwell made her debut for Reading, but was booked and taken off at half-time.
In London, Izzy Atkinson made her debut for West Ham when she came on for Irish team-mate Jess Ziu in their 2-0 defeat by Manchester United.
In the Championship, Louise Quinn was on the scoresheet for Birmingham City in their 3-2 win over Coventry, Harriet Scott and Jamie Finn also starting the game, with Lucy Quinn coming on as a sub.
With Lily Agg suspended and Rianna Jarrett injured, Hayley Nolan was the only Irish player on duty for London City Lionesses in their 3-0 defeat of Durham, their striker Saoirse Noonan taking a knock and going off midway through the second half.
Bristol City’s Chloe Mustaki and Lewes’ Emily Kraft were both involved in draws, against Southampton and Sheffield United respectively, but there was no joy for Ireland’s representatives in the Italian and German Leagues, Amber Barrett’s Potsdam losing 3-0 at home to Duisburg, the Irish striker still being played in the less than familiar right-back role, while Niamh Farrelly’s Parma were beaten 4-0 at home to AC Milan.
Up in Denmark, though, HB Koge made it six wins out of six when they beat FC Nordsjaelland 1-0, their captain Kyra Carusa taken off after an hour, hopefully with an eye on Wednesday’s Champions League game against Juventus, the teams having drawn the first leg of their qualifier on HB Koge’s home turf last week.