New signings often take time to adapt to their new surroundings.
Villa Ladies stopper Grace Moloney has experienced no such problems since arriving in June on loan from WSL1 side Reading.
A string of fine saves and commanding displays in every appearance haven’t gone unnoticed and unsurprisingly corresponded with an upturn in results for the team.
She started her football journey at the age of seven with a local boys’ team and was picked up by QPR.
At 10, Moloney joined Reading and has been a Royal for the last 13 years.
She’s now in B6 and loving her football under Joe Hunt more than ever.
Moloney said: “The girls have been really welcoming to me – so have Joe, Ron and Andy.
“They’ve really encouraged me, made me feel really welcome.
“I was at such a low point when I got dropped at Reading.
The atmosphere is great, and everyone is friendly and gets on so well. It’s been brilliant.
“Coming into the club, the atmosphere is great, and everyone is friendly and gets on so well. It’s been brilliant.
“I just think it’s a really good, young squad and we have the ability to put in good performances.
“We need to get the level of consistency up now and we can still get results until the end of the season.”
Villa Ladies are backed by a loyal contingent at home and on the road.
They don scarves, hang flags and wear shirts with the likes of ‘Cusack 8’, ‘Wilko 9’ and ‘Merrick 18’ printed on the back.
And the goalkeeper has been overwhelmed at their unwavering support.
She continued: “They’re huge for us.
“The girls love it. When you do something well and you hear them singing your name – it’s unreal.
“They travel so far too. A group got the train down to Berkhamsted to watch us against Watford last weekend. That must’ve cost quite a lot of money.
“Just because they love the team they go to all that effort, it’s brilliant.”
‘Ireland’s No.1’ is the new favoured chant of choice for the vocal claret and blue followers, who have taken to their latest representative as one of their own.
The statement isn’t a million miles from the truth. The stopper made her senior bow for the Republic in March of this year against Austria in the Cyprus Cup.
Her international journey to date has taken her around the globe and the highly-rated custodian spoke of her immense pride and continued aspirations.
She explained: “I got called up when I was 15 and played for the U15s in two games then in the U17s we had a really good campaign.
“We got to the European final, we lost of penalties against Spain.
“We went to the World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago and lost in the quarter-finals to Japan.
“For my family it was always a big thing to play for Ireland.
“My sister and I always had the latest Ireland kit when we were growing up and it’s massive for my family."
Family is evidently an important part of Moloney’s life.
Dad Bill is her ‘No.1 fan’ and like so many footballing parents, has made a number of sacrifices to help his daughter achieve her goals.
Moloney says she’s eternally grateful and strives to continue to make him proud.
She added: “He’s been massive.
“My dad’s my number one fan. He comes everywhere with me.
“He came to Trinidad, he came to Switzerland and he came to Serbia.
“He takes me to training on Tuesdays, Thursdays and then to the games at the weekend. He takes me everywhere.
“My dad wants to see me enjoy football and he knows that my goal is to be No.1 for Ireland.
“He supports me in every way to make sure I achieve my goals.”
Come and see Moloney in action as Villa Ladies take on Yeovil Town Ladies this Sunday, July 31, at Stratford Town FC.
The address is: DCS Stadium, Knights Ln, Tiddington, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 7BZ.Snap up a family day ticket [two adults and two children] for just £10!
Otherwise, adult tickets are [£5] while children/OAP's pay [£1].
You can SNAP UP TICKETS HERE or pay on the gate.