"We're all looking forward to Saturday. We want to make that a special occasion, and it should be a special occasion; that's what we should be looking at", says Saoirse Noonan, echoing in anticipation as Ireland braces for a historic showdown against Northern Ireland. On Saturday, September 23rd, 2023, the Aviva Stadium will witness a momentous event - the first-ever Ireland Women's National Team game at this iconic venue.
An honour 🇮🇪 https://t.co/rUir22vsVn
— Saoirse Noonan (@saoirse_noonan) September 15, 2023
This match holds a special place in the hearts of every Irish football fan.
It marks the return of our beloved team from the FIFA Women's World Cup, a journey filled with courage, determination, and national pride.
“Everyone wants to represent their country," Noonan says.
Saoirse Noonan -a dual sporting star
Hailing from Cork, Noonan's journey as a dual-code footballer has been nothing short of remarkable. She's had a profound impact on the Gaelic football scene; her journey with Nemo Rangers saw her win All-Ireland medals at various levels, from under-14 to minor.
She's also an integral part of the Republic of Ireland's senior national team.
In 2021, Saoirse Noonan made the decision to pause her Gaelic football career temporarily to focus on soccer.
The Irish team will step onto the Aviva Stadium's hallowed turf under the guidance of new interim head coach Eileen Gleeson. This transition comes on the heels of the recent dismissal of former head coach Vera Pauw.
Adjusting to new strategies, tactics, and a different coaching style is a challenge. However, it's a challenge that Saoirse and her teammates are ready to embrace.
The Aviva Stadium's grandeur and history inspire dreams in every athlete. "Even just going back in with my club pre-season, it just makes you want it more. Seeing the crowds in the stadiums; you can only dream of it as a child," Noonan reflects.
Indeed, the fans have rallied behind their team, both at home and abroad; the Aviva Stadium is expected to be filled with passionate supporters, eager to witness their heroes in action.
"When you see the ticket sales, you know the fans are behind you."
She's building a promising future in the world of sports, recognizing that careers in athletics can be short, and she aims to make the most of every moment.
Republic of Ireland are back in action for the first time since the World Cup, as they host Northern Ireland in the UEFA Nations League at the Aviva Stadium
Watch live on @rte2 and @rteplayer this Saturday from 12.30pm #rtesoccer pic.twitter.com/vbTmpG8yLf
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 19, 2023
Beyond the field, Noonan is also a visionary entrepreneur.
She founded "Freedom Official Clothing," a clothing brand with a mission to empower aspiring athletes, especially young girls.
"Your career is short, and things do change in the flick of a switch," Noonan says, emphasizing the importance of building a sustainable future in sports. She understands the unique challenges that young female athletes face, and this fuels her drive to create a positive change.
Saoirse Noonan's impact extends to inspiring the next generation of female athletes.
"If you go back to Cork, you'll see all the young girls wearing our women's Gaelic football jersey, soccer ball, hurling and camogie stick; it's what you want to see, isn't it?" Seeing these young girls embracing sports are a testament to how far women's sports have come."
🍀 Want to be there to see Our Girls in Green make history? 🍀
Win tickets for you and four friends to their clash against Northern Ireland at home in Aviva Stadium. Click the link https://t.co/v6ZpYO1dPA to enter 🏆 #COYGIG #irelandfootball pic.twitter.com/oLQ77dOhDq
— AVIVA (@AVIVAIRELAND) September 19, 2023
With standards set high and unwavering determination, Saoirse Noonan and her teammates aim to deliver an unforgettable performance at the Aviva.
"We have standards in every game we want to win; we've pushed to get in the Aviva," Noonan states. "We want a big crowd there, and we want to put on a show for everyone and perform."