The team played their last friendly with Glentoran at Roadstone. Are you happy with how pre-season preparations went?

“50-50. The international breaks probably didn’t help much when you’re trying to have the whole squad together and trying to implement a whole new style of play. In those international windows, we had some in the Ireland senior squad, I think we had nine in the Under-19s and some away with the Under-17s. So there was a bit of disruption to it but other than that, it’s gone the best it could.”

And do you feel the squad you’ve put together has a good blend of youth and experience?

“That’s exactly what we were looking for, a good balance of experience and youth. It wasn’t just trying to get some young players in there; it’s about getting the best up-and-coming young players, the ones that have the potential to hopefully at some stage be a senior international. You get that balance and experience from the senior players that pass on their knowledge to these young players and that is going to be vital.”

Are there always high expectations when it comes to Shamrock Rovers’ results and style of football, whether it’s men or women’s teams?

“It’s a natural thing at Shamrock Rovers. I think as soon as you walk in those doors at Roadstone there’s an expectation that comes on you and that’s not even to do with the external of what other people might think. That expectation is always going to be there, but we’re just going to try and get a settled team together, get good foundations and structures in place and then maybe look to push on for next year.”

Saturday will be the first competitive game by a Rovers senior women’s side in nine years. Are the group excited to not only get the season underway but launch a new era for the club?

Yes, even the likes of Aine [O’Gorman] was saying that it’s the most excited she’s been in a long time for the launch of a league. It’s all different and new for every single one of the players involved, so there’s great excitement amongst all the players for it.”

Sligo finished eighth last season. What sort of opponent are we facing at the Showgrounds and who are their danger players?

“I think it’s going to be a tough one to start off with. They’ve only been in the league for a few years themselves so you always find with other teams that come in, they start growing into it and they start getting stronger, year after year. They’re a very tough team to break down. One of their main strengths is their counter-attacking ability and one to watch is Emma Doherty, with the amount of goals she scored last year. She’s one that we’ll have to keep an eye on on the night.”

Aine O’Gorman and Abbie Larkin are back from international duty. With the World Cup not too far away, will a lot of players be eager to perform well at club level the next months to be in contention?

“Of course. I think there are plenty of players within the league itself, not just Aine and Abbie, but players at other clubs that will have one eye on trying to make Vera’s squad. It’s not something that’s ever come around before and who knows when it might come around again. To have that sort of opportunity and be that close to it, I think a lot of players will be looking to perform well this year to be in contention for a place on that plane.”

Which players are unavailable or injury doubts for Saturday?

“There are no new injury doubts but we’ve had some long-running injuries all through pre-season. Sav McCarthy is coming back from her ACL but she is at least back onto the pitch training. Maria Reynolds has another long-term injury and she still has another couple of weeks of rehab to go. Then there’s Jess Gargan, who injured an ankle in pre-season. She is back in training and in contention but as she’s only back this week, the Sligo game might just come a little soon for her.”