Republic of Ireland international Julie-Ann Russell leaves UCD Waves for Australia

Fri, Jun 09 2017

Russell in action for the Republic of Ireland in a Euro 2017 qualification defeat to Portugal at Tallaght Stadium. Credit: Laszlo Geczo

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Republic of Ireland and UCD Waves midfielder Julie-Ann Russell has played her last game for the club as she prepares to emigrate to Australia.

 

The Galway native lined out for the final time for the club last week as they overcame Wexford Youths Women in the WNL Shield. UCD sit second in the Women's National League.

 

26-year-old Russell has spent the past four years with the Waves, helping Noel Kealy's side to second-place finishes in the 2014-15 and 2016 seasons.

 

Previously, she played with her local side Salthill Devon, Peamount United and the University of Limerick, as well as spells with US club Los Angeles Kickers and Doncaster Bells in England.

 

“I work for Microsoft and I got offered a role over in the Sydney offices. The offer was a really good opportunity and too good to turn down,” Russell told extratime.ie.

 

“It was a huge decision [to make] with football. I've been playing the best football I have in the last couple of years, and it's typical then [to be] leaving at this point.

 

“I've been playing on the Irish senior team since I was 17/18, and on all the underage teams, so to leave it and go over to Australia was massive.”

 

Russell was omitted from the Ireland squad that drew 0-0 Iceland at Tallaght Stadium on Thursday evening after informing manager Colin Bell of her decision.

 

She had scored four goals in 56 appearances for the senior side after racking up her half-century of caps in a Cyprus Cup clash with Hungary in 2016.

 

“It's very difficult. Things are changing for the good now and even when I was in the last squad I saw really high spirits and good vibes and training was really good.

 

“Colin has been a really good addition, so that made it that extra bit difficult to go.”

 

Russell expects to link up with a team in Australia's second-tier league once she settles in Sydney and hasn't ruled out a return to Ireland in the years to come.