Limerick FC have confirmed their entry into the Continental Tyres Women's National League ahead of the 2018 season.
The addition of the Munster club sees the women's top-flight expand to eight teams while the FAI have indicated that could grow to nine for the 2019 season.
"We've been in discussions with the club for several months," revealed FAI Competition Director Fran Gavin. "And they presented to the Women's National League committee, and the committee made the decision to accept Limerick into the league.
"This is a huge step forward for Women's Football in Limerick and Munster. It is imperative that we continue to grow the Women's National League which has gone from strength to strength over recent seasons, with the amount of WNL players in our national team continuing to increase.
"Geographically, the league covers more areas of the country than ever before and we're in discussions with an entity in the north-west to possibly enter the league beyond the 2018 season."
Limerick FC Chairman Pat O’Sullivan is overjoyed to help his club make a small piece of history this season.
"The board of Limerick FC and the club's supporters are delighted, for the first time in the history of the football club founded in 1937, that we will now be represented by a national senior women’s team.
"As chairman, it is more significant as it reflects the respect that this club holds for women, and I want to emphasise how much better the world and our community would be if women were shown the respect that they are entitled to in our society.
"I want to add, I want to see this reflected in the facilities available to this National League team, and indeed to the Under-17 National League team that will follow it.
"We would ask all of those who support sport in Limerick, in the broadest sense, to ensure that the top-class facilities available to male-sport participants also be made available to female-sport activities, and in this case to our National League women’s teams.
"Limerick FC’s respect for women in sport is reflected in our planning application for our Regional Centre of Excellence in Bruff, which includes an exclusive full-size pitch to facilitate camogie and ladies’ Gaelic football."
The fixtures for the coming season, which begins in March, are due to be announced tomorrow with Wexford Youths set to defend the title they won in dramatic circumstances on the final day by beating Peamount United 2-0.