Grace Moloney is one of the best young keepers in the country – and she’s planning her future.
She is coming to the end of her loan spell at Women’s Super League 2 side Aston Villa, and will be returning to her parent club Reading, where England’s Mary Earps is currently first-choice goalkeeper.
“It’s gone really well,” she said.
“I’m a bit sad that it’s ending, and I have to make a decision on what I’m going to do next season.”
In mid-table, with a goal difference of minus five, Villa have had a challenging season and Moloney has had plenty of opportunity to show just how good she is.
“We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve started really well and just not been good enough in the final third,” she recalled.
“The team is really young and has so many good players – getting more experience over the next few years, the team will be really good.”
She opted to go out on loan so that she got as much game time as possible to ensure that she stayed in the international picture with Sue Ronan’s Ireland squad.
“You want to play as many games as you can,” she explained.
“Due to the FA rules, you can’t extend a loan beyond the 93-day period, so on the 25th, that’s it, time up – the only way to stay at Villa would be to terminate my contract with Reading.
“I have to consider that. I’ve been at Reading since I was 10 – I’m 23 now.
“I’ve got to do what’s best for me, and I’ve got to play matches to stay in the Ireland set-up.”
It was her dad who dealt with the negotiation of her loan deal with Villa, and both her parents are her first port of call when she requires advice.
“I speak to both my parents about things,” Moloney said.
“My dad’s the football man, my mum will tell me to do what’s best and not worry about what everyone else thinks.
“My dad will come absolutely everywhere with me, home, away, wherever, he’s there. He drives me up to Birmingham [from Berkshire] for every training session – even though I can drive.
“They both support me in the best way that they can – I’ve got good backing.”
Moloney is now preparing for Ireland’s match against Portugal in the Euro 2017 qualifier on Tuesday, September 20.
She is very proud to play for her country, whom she has represented at age-group level since she was 15, picking up her first full senior cap in March this year.
Having been born in Slough, though, to her Irish father and English mother, her voice does not really represent her roots.
“I’m a plastic Paddy!” she laughs.
“I’d LOVE an accent!”
*Carrie Dunn is SHOOT’s Women’s Football correspondent. Her book ‘The Roar of the Lionesses: Women’s Football in England’ is out now – available in all good bookshops.*