Ireland WNT: A open letter from Aine O'Gorman
It has been an incredible journey with the team over the years and one which has been such a huge part of my life. Every time that I've pulled on the Ireland jersey, it has been a moment of incredible honour for both my family and I. But now, I feel it is time to step aside and let the next generation make their mark.
Back in 2006, I could never have imagined that my international career would see me reach 100 caps when I made my debut at the Algarve Cup against Denmark. Despite only being 16 years of age, Head Coach Noel King believed in me and brought me into the senior squad. I will always be thankful to him for giving me the opportunity and platform to begin my international career.
Of course, there will always be a tinge of sadness that we were never able to qualify for a major international tournament. We came close on a few occasions but it wasn't to be. I've no doubt that the work currently being done with the national team now will see them achieve that qualification in the future.
Winning my 100th cap back in June against Norway will always be one of my proudest moments, despite the result. To get to lead the team out on that special occasion was a privilege and it was an incredible milestone to reach for my country. I've scored 13 goals during my international career and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed scoring each one, my goal against Portugal, in particular, is the one which will always stick out. It was such a difficult game against a tough team away from home and that goal kept our qualification hopes alive at the time.
Not only have I enjoyed my time with the national team because of the football, but also because of my fantastic team-mates down the years. When I first came into the national team, the players I looked up to, like Olivia O'Toole, Ciara Grant and Yvonne Tracy, made me feel so welcome. It can be quite a daunting place to come into but I was able to learn so much from those players and it was a privilege to share a pitch with them. Emma Byrne was a fantastic captain over the many years we played together and also, I'd like to thank Stephanie Roche for being a fantastic best friend and room-mate, and for putting up with me!
Now, as I look to the future, I'm determined to give something back to the game I love. I'm hoping to take my UEFA B Licence very soon and begin my journey in coaching. Having come through the player pathway myself, I think it's incredibly important to have the guidance of former players and I feel like my experiences could benefit future generations.
I'm going to continue playing in the Women's National League with Peamount United and thoroughly enjoy my club football. It's been a fantastic club to me during my career and I'm looking forward to concentrating on my club football. I've always enjoyed playing in the league and I'm determined to lead Peamount back to the top of the table once again.
I want to thank Noel King, Sue Ronan and Colin Bell, all the coaches and backroom staff throughout the years, and I wish the current team all the best for the future. There was so much progress made during the last qualifying campaign and the amount of young talent coming through the underage sides is a great sign for the future of the game in this country. I'll be the Women's National Team's biggest fan from now on and I’ll be the first through the turnstile at Tallaght Stadium to cheer on the girls in green.
Finally, I want to thank my family and friends. The support they've shown me over the years has been incredible and without them, all of this would not have been possible.