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Women’s Football Blast – September 14th

It’s a Thursday Women’s Football Blast this week, we’ll be back to our regular Wednesday slot next week.

At Home

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.

Up Next

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.

We all dream of a team of Mustaki’s

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…

Make sure you follow @PostToPostSport on Twitter and PostToPostSport on Instagram.

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.


Women’s Football Blast – September 7th

It was a big week for the international side and the Women’s National League Returns.

Cailín in Green

Looking at the table, Irish eyes have to be smiling…

Sweden Qualify Automatically For the World Cup
Ireland Progress To The Second Round Of The European Section Of The Play-Offs

In 2017 the Irish women were forced to threaten strike action over the conditions they had to work in. Now Ireland have comfortably finished in second place in a qualifying group, are one of the best group runner-ups, and have only lost one game in doing so. That one game was a narrow loss to Sweden, who had just won an Olympic medal. A narrow 0-1 loss where Ireland had chances.

The Finland game postmatch scene saw celebrations, and rightfully so. In the subsequent games from other groups the results went the right way which meant Ireland’s path to the World Cup became somewhat clearer while still being needlessly complicated.

Coming into the Slovakia match the atmosphere was odd. Ireland had done what they needed in a huge game, but still had so much to play for. A win would mean Ireland could potentially get to the World Cup in one game, rather than 2. That being said, Ireland could have needed anywhere between 1 to 4 games to qualify, because it’s all a bit complicated (we’ll explain later).

Ireland got the win they needed. It wasn’t a particularly good game, and this Irish team is capable of much better performances. But sometimes you need to grind out a win on a tricky away day. The Slovakian’s offered more in the way of fouling than creating chances, but still, they had to be beaten. Denise O’Sullivan got the winning goal when she reacted to Jess Ziu’s ball. O’Sullivan read the play well and adjusted her position to get the crucial score.

That wasn’t it for the chances but it was it for the goals. A second or third would have made things less nervy, but a win was what was needed and it was achieved. Ireland were the better side and created a lot more so the 3 points were deserved.

Jess Ziu got the crucial assist, and she was very lively throughout. Ziu has long been touted as a future superstar. In the post match interview she said her focus now turns to putting in good performances at West Ham, where she recently moved. The winger has shown great composure and understanding of her position for such a young player. She is one of many talents in this side that would be particularly worthy of lighting up a World Cup.

The draw for the play-offs will be made on Friday. Ireland will be one of three teams that receive a bye to the second round. For baffling reasons that make no sense, that does not mean Ireland are guaranteed a draw against one of the six sides that will play a first round game. It really is all a bit confusing. So from here Ireland will either qualify after one game, or will need to play a further one or two games to qualify. We put together a guide for where Ireland go from here:

You would be forgiven if you have no idea what’s going on. Let’s just see what happens during the draw.

Next week we will take a look back at the full campaign and go through some of the big moments.

Women’s National League

With the international break over attention will turn to domestic matters. With six rounds to go the top two know if they win their remaining games they will be champions.

As It Stands…
1st place gets a place in the Champions League First Qualifying Round Tournament
Saturday 10th September Fixtures

Sligo Rovers vs Galway

The Showgrounds / 14:00

DLR Waves vs Athlone Town

UCD Bowl / 16:00

Treaty United vs Bohemians

Markets Field / 17:00

Wexford Youths vs Cork City

Ferrycarrig Park / 18:00

Shelbourne vs Peamount United

Tolka Park / 19:35

Shelbourne hosting Peamount is the standout tie. These games are usually highly unpredictable. Both have long been two of the top three sides in the league, but it hasn’t stopped these sides from occasionally putting a big score on the other. Last season Peas hammered Shels, this season it was the other way around. The league leaders have a few banana skins left in their run-in, and this is a major one. Peamount have had a disappointing season, but have bounced back in recent games and will be out to avenge their cup loss against this Saturday’s opponents.

DLR Waves and Athlone Town has become something of a mini-rivalry this season. Athlone are occupying the spot many felt Waves would be aiming for this year. Not only that, but the midlands side have beaten Waves twice so far. The first meeting between the sides suffered due to unnecessary rescheduling (it ended up being played on a Tuesday and neither side had had a training session since their last game). Athlone got the win through an unfortunate own goal. The most recent meeting saw the same victors, but a much more entertaining affair. This one could be one of the games of the season.

A Connacht derby is something we are not quite used to in this league yet, but Sligo will be looking to get one over on their provincial rivals. Bohs will be looking to keep pace in the race to finish in the top half when they face a Treaty United side without a win. Wexford Youths will know a win is a must against a resurgent Cork side to put pressure on the league leaders ahead of their game.

Internationals Return

It’s always interesting to see how players away on international duty adapt to being back to the bread and butter of the league. The Ireland squad saw a total six players from the WNL travel.

  • Eve Badana (DLR Waves)
  • Jessie Stapleton (Shelbourne)
  • Áine O’Gorman (Peamount United)
  • Ellen Molloy (Wexford Youths)
  • Aoibheann Clancy (Wexford Youths)
  • Abbie Larkin (Shelbourne)

Of those only Molloy saw game time, coming on against Slovakia. The highs of being in camp will have been exhilarating for all six, especially for the achievements involved. Now it remains to be seen if it’s difficult to return to focusing on the games this weekend without having October 11th in mind.

Realistically I don’t think it will be an issue in terms of mentality. All those players will know that if they want to make that squad for the play-offs they need to keep performing. It is, however, possible that fatigue could play a role.

Across the Water

With the English Women’s Super League returning, there is plenty of Irish interest involved. Most of the players in the squad play in England, whether it’s the top or second tier, and Vera Pauw will be keeping a close eye on who gets consistent game time. Leanne Kiernan had a super year last season for Liverpool who achieved promotion to the WSL. She is one to keep an eye on as she tries to force her way into the Ireland starting XI.

Make sure you follow @PostToPostSport on Twitter and Instagram. If you enjoyed this WNL Blast please consider contributing to our fundraiser for Ireland’s National Autism Charity. All season we have been doing different fundraiser charities for to raise money for and awareness of As I Am. You can read all about our challenges so far and why we are doing this on our fundraiser page here. And you can contribute to the fundraiser on our iDonate here.