It’s a Thursday Women’s Football Blast this week, we’ll be back to our regular Wednesday slot next week.
The Women’s National League returned after the international break with five games bringing in 20 goals.
Women’s National League Results – Saturday 10th September
Sligo Rovers 2-5 Galway
Goals: McGrory 8′ (1-0), Erickson 10′ (1-1), McGrory 16′ (2-1), Brennan 38′ (2-2), Reynolds 50′ (2-3), Singleton 62′ (2-4), Slattery 70′(2-5)
DLR Waves 1-1 Athlone Town
Goals: Mooney 39′ (1-0), Gibson 77′ (1-1)
Treaty United 0-4 Bohemians
Goals: Doyle 41′ (0-1), Brophy 49′ (0-2), Brophy 55′ (0-3), Prior 69′ (0-4)
Wexford Youths 5-1 Cork City
Goals: Dring 10′ (0-1), Clancy P 39′ (1-1), Clancy P 54′ (2-1), Rossiter 67′ (3-1), Molloy 79′ (4-1), Murphy 83′ (5-1)
Shelbourne 0-1 Peamount United
Goals: Roche 75′ (0-1)
As It Stands
With five games to go the big takeaway is the change in league leaders.
Wexford Move Top
Last week we said the title race is between a two to four horse race. It’s certainly four now with Shelbourne dropping points but Wexford are clear frontrunners. The lead is one point, but form wise this Wexford side look unstoppable.
As the title race takes another turn, here’s the thoughts of a good friend of Post to Post Sport, Wexford Youths and Wexford FC media officer Ronan McCarthy:
Last year’s WNL took a shock turn in the final weekend live on TG4, when Peamount’s defeat at home to Galway handed the title over to Shelbourne after their win against the Youths. Looking at the final four games of this season, absolutely anything is possible once again. The early season form of Shelbourne was the strongest in WNL history – with 12 straight wins with 12 straight cleansheets. It looked for all the world like Shelbourne would not be stopped, as they moved 10 points clear of their nearest rivals. Surely a procession for the final few months. Far from it. After the departures of Jess Ziu and Saoirse Noonan mid-season, Shelbourne’s form has looked far more human. Wexford Youths have clung on to Shelbourne’s coat-tails for dear life for much of this season, but are now hitting imperious form of their own, and they have now moved themselves to league leaders by a single point. Some amazing weeks ahead for WNL fans, with all eyes certainly on Ferrycarrig Park on the final day 29th October as the Youths play host to Shelbourne. A title-decider for the ages.Ronan McCarthy (@RonanTheGreek)
A legend of the league Kylie Murphy had a landmark to celebrate, reaching 100 club goals. Considering a lot of them were from midfield it’s a very impressive stat. The 100 includes a Champions League hat trick, which not a lot of Irish players can boast.
A proud moment for Kylie, up there with calling teammate Ciara Rossiter “a bit of a whingebag (in training)” on our podcast once. Multiple Wexford Youths players have backed-up this assertion.
Galway Set To Depart
On Sunday just after 18:00 Galway WFC released the following statement:
At a time where the women’s game is growing in Ireland it’s not the news we would hope for. Galway is a big region to not have a team. Particularly with the expansion of the league to two tiers expected by 2025, it’s not a good sign to have a side drop out.
Attention turned quickly to Galway United, who have since released a statement saying they are looking at the possibility of taking over the women’s side.
The statement is a bit vague. There is talk that every men’s League of Ireland side have to be linked in with a women’s side. But it’s important that those links aren’t fast-tracked. One thing we don’t need in the WNL is teams coming in for a short stint and dropping out. If Galway United do take over it’s important it’s done in the right way with academy structures. There needs to be sustainability there rather than just a quick fix.
With talk of the league going semi-professional it’s not a good sign to have Galway talking about struggling to make it to the end of the season. Hopefully this gets cleared up and we still have Galway in the league next season. I’s a bit messy right now but there’s too much talent between all age levels in Galway women’s football to not have a senior team.
Optimistically we can hope that Galway United come in and we have a well run club with underage structures. We don’t need lip service to the women’s game, we need real commitment to growing the women’s game.
While Wexford beat Cork in convincing fashion in the end, there was a major turning point in the first half. Cork had taken the lead and were holding their own before the ref gave a penalty for, well, not a whole lot really.
It’s a head scratching decision that really doesn’t reflect well on the league. While standards of officiating have improved this season (foul throws are being called at least), it let’s down the league when we are talking about refereeing decisions like this.
Watching it again it’s still hard to believe this was given. Minimal.
Bohs Summer Recruits Turning Heads
Niamh Prior and Rachel Doyle got on the scoresheet for Bohemians over the weekend (admittedly Doyle’s shot took a generous deflection but it’s what we call a Doyleginho special). Both players joined from Waves over the Summer in search of more game time.
Prior and Doyle have shown they are well worth a starting place with their performances over the last while, particularly in attack. Rachel Doyle has long been one of the most talented midfielders in the league with exceptional vision. Niamh Prior is a versatile player who is now getting the chance to shine in a more attack-minded wide role. Both players are proving to be big assets to their new club and will help Bohs in their quest to finish the league in strong fashion. Interestingly, their next game is against their former side DLR Waves, who fellow Bohs stars Ciara Maher and Katie Burdis also played for last season.
Cup Semi-Finals Approach
For four clubs this weekend offers a last chance for four clubs to build momentum for the FAI Cup semi-finals.
FAI Cup Semi-Finals -September 24th
Shelbourne vs Bohemians, Tolka Park, K/O 14:00
Athlone Town vs Wexford Youths, Athlone Town Stadium, K/O 16:30
Tolka park should be packed for this Dublin Derby a Shels and Boohs season ticket holders will be allowed in for free. That’s a great initiative that should contribute to an amazing atmosphere.
Three of the teams in that line-up are in the title race. Athlone Town are six points of 1st spot in the league but may feel that the cup is a better chance of silverware. Bohemians have proven to be formidable this season, and this is their defining game. Athlone and Bohs appearing in a cup final just three seasons into their spells in the WNL would be an incredible achievement and a statement of intent. If neutrals are looking at this game they may be hoping that we see both sides in the final for a guaranteed underdog winner.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think Shels or Wexford could be preoccupied, but neither will overlook their cup games. There’s only two chances for silverware since the League Cup hasn’t been played for a 3rd consecutive season, this is an important game for both these sides.
Athlone will know they need to beat Shelbourne to stay in the title race, anything less than three points and the gap will be too much to make up. Cork host Galway in an emotional week for the away side, Cork will be looking to build on recent improved performances. Peamount can’t afford to drop points against Sligo as they try to keep pace with the top two. DLR Waves will be aiming to keep their unbeaten run going and distance themselves from Bohs in a Dublin derby. Wexford have momentum on their side as they host bottom side Treaty.
Saturday 17th September Fixtures
Athlone Town vs Shelbourne
Athlone Town Stadum / 16:30
Cork City vs Galway
Turners Cross / 17:00
Peamount United vs Sligo Rovers
PRL Park / 17:00
Bohemians vs DLR Waves
Dalymount Park / 18:00
Wexford Youths vs Treaty United
Ferrycarrig Park / 18:00
Remember you can watch every game that is not on TG4 live on LOITV.ie for free with sign-up.
Cailín in Green
Ireland have been drawn to play the winners of the tie between Scotland and Austria in the play-off second leg. The game will be away from home.
It’s a difficult draw as the Scots and Austrians are both ranked higher and have major tournament appearances to their name. In the World Rankings Ireland sit 26th, Scotland are 23rd, while Austria are 20th. Scotland would probably be the preferred draw with it being a shorter trip. Austria were impressive in the Euros over the Summer.
One of the best stories in this team is Chloe Mustaki. The left wingback has had an emotional year, making her Ireland debut after battling cancer and serious injury.
We spoke with Chloe about Ireland making the play-offs, how competitive the squad is, and her move from Shelbourne to Bristol City.
As Chloe mentioned there’s plenty of football to be played before the play-off on October 11th with the English domestic season kicking off this weekend after a delayed start.
Around the Web
Read up our report of the latest round of WNL games on ImpetusFootball.Org.
Make sure you have a look at this weeks WNL Wrap:
On Sunday Cathal Dennehy wrote up a piece for the Independent on Ireland international Savannah McCarthy. Cathal spoke with Savannah about representing the Travelling Community and recovering from injury. You can read it here.
FinalWhistle.ie had one of Ireland’s best defenders, Louise Quinn, on their podcasts.
Make sure you follow @TheWNLShow on Twitter for all things Irish women’s football.
One Last Thing…
And if you’ve enjoyed any of our stuff please take a look at our fundraiser for Ireland’s National Autism Charity. You can read up on the different challenges we’ve done and why we chose to raise money for As I Am. The link to donate is on our charity fundraiser page, all donations are greatly appreciated and every little bit goes a long way.
The Women’s Football Blast will be back next Wednesday with all the Irish women’s football content you can handle.