Glentoran: Lauren Wade, Casey Howe and Jen McDade join Women's Premiership champions

Lauren Wade, Jennifer McDade and Casey Howe have all played for Northern Ireland
Lauren Wade, Jennifer McDade and Casey Howe have all played for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland internationals Lauren Wade, Casey Howe and Jennifer McDade have joined Glentoran for their defence of the Women's Premiership title.

Wade, who will miss Northern Ireland's Euro 2022 play-off through injury, last played for Glasgow City while Howe has switched from rivals Linfield.

Former Crusaders and Linfield defender McDade moves to the Oval from Shelbourne.

Glentoran won the 2020 Women's Premiership title by three points.

The new Women's Premiership season kicks-off on 28 April.

Winger Wade, 27, returns for her second spell with Glentoran after initially joining from her native Coleraine in 2012.

In 2015, she earned a two-year scholarship with Carson-Newman University in the USA and went on to play for in Throttur Reykjavik in Iceland and in the Champions League with Glasgow City, where she scored a famous goal in the quarter-finals.

Wade made her Northern Ireland debut as a 16-year-old and played a vital role in the historic Euro 2022 qualifying campaign under Kenny Shiels.

Striker Howe makes the move across Belfast from Linfield. She made her Northern Ireland debut aged 17 and has featured in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League for the Blues.

The Fermanagh player, 18, netted nine goals in eight games for Linfield last season.

McDade came through the youth system with Crusaders before accepting a one-year scholarship with Southern Mississippi University. She signed for Linfield after returning from the States where she won three Premiership titles, the NIFL League Cup and County Antrim Cup.

She signed for Shelbourne in 2019 and has returned to the Women's Premiership after a 18-month spell with the Dublin club.

Glentoran have also announced that Murray and Lesley Winder and joined the club's coaching staff.

Glens move 'just felt right' - Wade

After her time in Glasgow came to an end, Wade said she couldn't see herself playing anywhere else in the Irish Premiership.

"I really enjoyed the spell I had with Glasgow City, and when I came home it just felt right. In the times we are in it felt right to be at home and Glentoran are my club," Wade told BBC Sport NI.

"I don't see myself anywhere else and I'm very glad that they welcomed me back. Glentoran are a successful club and I'm looking forward to get the season underway.

"When you go away and come back, it feels like nothing has changed and that is the thing with Glentoran. It is a good environment to be around and we are looking to retain the title

Wade added the prospect of European football with Glentoran in the Champions League was "a massive factor" in her choice to return to the Oval.

"It's great that they are back there. As a footballer, those are the tournaments you want to be in and it is great that Glentoran have the chance to be there this year."

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