If the league season is anything to go by, the cup could offer a few surprises on the road to the final. The first round saw just two all-WNL ties with 3 of the 4 matches being largely one-sided. Now into the quarter-finals, last seasons finalist enter the stage and we have 4 games involving WNL sides to look forward to.
Bohemians vs Sligo Rovers k/o 13:00
In the first round Bohs won an all WNL tie at home to Galway, beating them 1-0. Sligo Rovers received a walk over against Douglas Hall as the non-league side could not fulfil the fixture.
Sligo Rovers picked up the biggest win of their inaugural campaign last weekend with a 3-2 win against champions Shelbourne. Having trailed 0-2 in the first game of the season to be broadcast on TV Slog flipped the script, largely thanks to the performance of Emma Doherty who scored twice. She’ll take some stopping, as will Gemma McGuinness. Sligo have impressed more than anybody thought they would in their debut season in the WNL and will be looking to translate that into a memorable cup run.
Bohs sit one place and five points ahead of their quarter-final opponents in the league. The Gypsies came through the most difficult tie in the first round, and will be slight favourites here. Abbie Brophy made the WNL team of the week for her performance in the last round of games. Goalkeeper Rachel Kelly has been nominated for player of the month for June and July. Bohs have bolstered their ranks during the off-season, with midfield maestro Rachel Doyle likely to stand out as a creative outlet.
Shelbourne vs Peamount United k/o 14:00
Shelbourne received a bye to the quarter-finals as runners-up from last season. Peamount stormed to victory in the first round by hammering Finglas United 16-0.
Peamount will be out for vengeance in this tie having been beaten 5-0 by Shels in the last league meeting between the sides. Peas had a rare trophyless season last year and had a significant mid-season slump during the spring which saw them drop from title contenders to midtable. They’ve recovered recently and will certainly threaten for goals with both Áine O’Gorman and Stephanie Roche finding the net 13 times in the league so far this season.
Shelbourne have made themselves worthy league leaders this year but have struggled for form in recent rounds. Partly down to losing multiple big names during the transfer window, including defender Chloe Mustaki. Still Shels will have plenty going forward with Noelle Murray leading the line. They have proved strong defensively this season, keeping 12 clean sheets.
Wexford Youths vs DLR Waves k/o 18:00
Wexford Youths received a bye to this stage as champions. DLR Waves won an all WNL tie in the first round, beating Treaty United 5-0 at home.
The Waves had been on a run of five games unbeaten with only one goal conceded before last weeks defeat to Athlone. They disappointingly went out in the quarter finals last year and will be looking to finally have a good cup run. This game is very much a tale of two keepers, with Ireland international Eve Badana consistently one of the best keepers in the league. Defensively Waves are strong with captain Jess Gleeson martialling the defence alongside the recently returned experienced centre-back Louis Corrigan. It’s hard to know who starts in midfield for Waves with Fiona Donnelly, Nadine Clare, Sophie Watters, and Mia Dodd all having good seasons. Waves generally play a 1-4-2-3-1 with plenty of goal threats between Kate Mooney, Avril Brierley, Carla McManus, and the clubs player of the month Katie Malone.
Wexford travelled to the UCD Bowl to face Waves less than a month ago in the league, with goalkeeper Maeve Williams continuing to prove a revelation this year. Ciara Rossiter will bring attacking quality out wide, with captain Kylie Murphy leading the line. Ellen Molloy is one of Ireland’s young sensations that have lit up the league this season.
If the last meeting is anything to go by, this will be an entertaining battle that requires a piece of quality to win it.
Athlone Town vs Cork City k/o 19:00
This is the only tie to feature two sides who had to play a first round match. Cork bat Bonagee United 7-0 at home in the previous stage, while Athlone Town won by the same scoreline after travelling to Whitehall Rangers.
Two seasons ago Cork City had their best ever season and made the cup final. They would be beaten 6-0 on the day, a scoreline that hardly reflected their efforts in the game. That seems like a decade ago now with Cork having seen an exodus of talent over the last couple of years. One player who is still at the club is midfielder Lauren Singleton, who has been a shinning light in a difficult year. Cork will be desperate for a good run in the cup to make up for their struggles in the league.
In contrast, Athlone Town have been the story of the season. It’s the midlands clubs’ third season in the league, and they have grown from struggling at the bottom of the table to surprise title contenders. Niamh Coombes has been strong in net, and Emily Corbet’s form has taken her to joint top of the WNL goalscoring charts and into the discussion for an Ireland call up.
Get in touch with us in the comments to let us know your predictions for the FAI Cup Quarter-finals.
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