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Shona light

John McGrady was “proud” to welcome Shona Davis back to the matchday fold when she was named on the bench for Cliftonville Ladies’ Avenir Sports All-Island Cup semi-final tie with Cork City Women on Sunday.

The defender, who turns 20 tomorrow, had been sidelined for more than a year with cruciate ligament damage but stepped up her recovery with a brief appearance in Cliftonville Corinthians’ North Belfast Derby defeat of Crusaders Strikers Under-19s at the end of last month before returning to the senior teamsheet this weekend.

“It’s great to have Shona back in first team squad for a matchday,” says McGrady.

“She has been working hard and deserved to be a part of the semi-final squad. She played 25 mins for the Under-19s and it was brilliant to have her getting minutes.

“Shona will add more quality depth to our squad. She played a huge part two seasons ago before she got injured playing in an international Under-19 game. Having that quality return to the squad adds both competition and cover.

“She has worked extremely hard to get back to this point. Her injury was bad and for her and her family to have her back playing, it’s a credit to all that hard work, time and dedication Shona has put in. We are all proud of her.”

McGrady also expressed pride in his entire squad after they booked their place in the inaugural All-Island Cup decider, where they will meet Galway United amid a schedule that also includes appearance in the Finals of both the Premiership League Cup and County Antrim Cup.

“I’m massively proud of the players and just happy to be a part of such a hard working group of good people who have a will and desire to do better each time they play,” he adds.

“To be in first all-Ireland Final is amazing as the oldest club in Ireland. But we know it’s three tough Finals, it’s about just taking each game as they come.”