Tag Archives: irish soccer

Women’s Football Blast – Play-Off

Due to work commitments we were unable to bring the WFB to you last week, but we’re back with a particular focus on next Tuesday.

Cailín in Green

We’ve been counting down the days until Tuesday 11th October for some time despite not knowing who the opponents are. After Thursdays first round games we know Scotland will be the destination for Ireland.

The Scots will be favourites, but it’s the lesser of two evils. Austria were strong in the Euros over the Summer, picking up two wins and putting it up to eventual champions England. Scotland are a team Ireland are more familiar with in terms of personnel, and it’s a shorter trip. Scotland will go into the game as favourites, but Ireland will benefit from their opponents having played 120 minutes just 5 days earlier. Scotland are looking to make their second consecutive appearance at a World Cup, having made their major tournament bow in the 2019 edition in France.

Match Fact: This will be the 22nd time Ireland and Scotland have met in a senior women’s game, making Scotland Ireland’s most frequent opponents.

Looking at the Scotland line-up from their first round victory, they play with a 1-4-3-3. Matching that up with Ireland’s usual 1-5-2-3 raises the question on what Ireland will do in the midfield. Having just a midfield 2 against a 3, particularly with Ruesha Littlejohn out, could lead to a bit of an overload. Against a front 3, it’s likely if Ireland go with 3 center-backs and wing-backs, it will be more of a flat back 5. That leaves a bit of a gap in the middle of the park.

The solution may be to change to more of a 1-5-3-2, or a 1-5-4-1. Both have their drawbacks. I would favour a 1-5-3-2 as leaving just one up front could see them isolated. A front 2 of Heather Payne and Amber Barrett could reek havoc on the Scottish defense in front of a midfield trio of Lilly Agg, Denise O’Sullivan, and Katie McCabe. There’s a real work-rate quality to that midfield, and although McCabe has done very well in a more advanced role, this is going to be a game for getting stuck in in the middle of the park. Saoirse Noonan is another option to start upfront as she’s been on good form for Durham. We saw when the men’s teams played not long ago the game was essentially a derby, it’ll be a similar situation here.

In the penultimate game of the group stage, against Finland, Ireland started slow. Finland needed a win and were the better team for the opening 30 minutes. The worry is that situation repeats itself. This time there will be a smaller contingent of Ireland fans to get behind the team, Ireland will need to start strong to squash any momentum the home side get from their crowd.

Of course, a win for Ireland (or Scotland) would not necessarily see Ireland progress to the World Cup. Of the 3 play-off winners only the two highest ranked will qualify directly for next Summer’s competition in Australia and New Zealand. The other will have to go to the inter-continental play-offs. This will involve playing 1 or 2 further games. We’ll look at the format of that if it comes to it. The other two play-offs are:

Switzerland vs Wales
Portugal vs Iceland

Ireland would need a win coupled with a defeat for at least one of Switzerland or Iceland, who are ranked above Ireland. In the two games above, Portugal are more likely to do Ireland a favor, having performed well in the Euros. The main thing is winning our game, which as we’ve made clear, is no guarantee.

Team News
The big team news in recent days has been Keeva Keenan of Shelbourne coming in to replace former teammate Jess Ziu. Ziu has been a big player for Ireland in the two recent games, and her spark will be missed. As well as Ziu and Littlejohn, Ireland will also be without Megan Connolly, Savannah McCarthy, Aoife Covill, Ellen Molloy, and Leanne Kiernan, who are all injured. Liverpool captain Niamh Fahey and for Shels star Jamie Finn return to the squad after missing the Slovakia game, and Niamh Farrelly, Roma McLaughlin, Isibeal Atkinson, and Kyra Carusa are all recalled.

Extended 29 Woman Ireland Squad:

Goalkeepers: Courtney Brosnan, Grace Moloney, Megan Walsh, Eve Badana.
Defenders: Harriet Scott, Keeva Keenan, Claire O’Riordan, Diane Caldwell, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey. Hayley Nolan, Chloe Mustaki, Megan Campbell, Áine O’Gorman.
Midfielders: Katie McCabe (Captain), Denise O’Sullivan, Jamie Finn, Ciara Grant, Lilly Agg, Niamh Farrelly, Roma McLaughlin, Lucy Quinn, Isibeal Atkinson.
Forwars: Heather Payne, Amber Barrett, Abbie Larkin, Saoirse Noonan, Kyra Carusa

A total of four players currently playing in the WNL, with much of the squad having come through the domestic league. There’s a real depth there in that 28. Ireland will certainly have a strong bench to choose from.

The Team We’d Like To See Start:
Formation: 1-5-3-2
Courtney Brosnan,
Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Diane Caldwell, Jamie Finn, Chloe Mustaki,
Lilly Agg, Denise O’Sullivan, Katie McCabe,
Heather Payne, Amber Barrett.

It’s the biggest game in the history of Irish football, and this is probably the best position Ireland have been in in terms of overall squad quality and facilities. All but 4 of the players in the squad are playing professional football, with many playing for a top tier club. There’s a real opportunity here. In the past Ireland have had legends like Emma Byrne and Olivia O’Toole who made a name for themselves playing for Ireland but ultimately never got to do it at a major tournament in the green jersey. Back in 2017 the Ireland squad was forced to threaten strike action just to get decent working conditions. Only recently has the agreement been struck for the women’s international side to be paid the same as the men. It’s been a long road for this Ireland team to get a decent shot with some actual backing. They’ve taken that chance. This Ireland side, under Vera Pauw, were so close to making the Euros, ultimately that tournament went on without the Girls in Green. Now there’s a place at the World Cup beckoning for an squad that boasts modern day Irish legends in Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan.

Whatever the result on Tuesday this has been a momentous campaign. But this Ireland side is so far above moral victories that all involved in the camp will feel they deserve to be there.

Back Home

Since we’ve last published this feature, we’ve had two cup semi-finals and another round of league games.

Women’s National League Results – Round 24

Galway 2-3 DLR Waves
Goals: Ellerose O’Flaherty 5′ (1-0), Shauna Carroll 8′ (1-1), Katie Malone 11′ (1-2),
Jamie Erickson 52′ (2-2), Avril Brierley 85′ (2-3)

Shelbourne 2-1 Cork City
Goals: Becky Cassin P 24′ (0-1), OG 45′ (1-1), Megan Smyth-Lynch 87′ (2-1)

Athlone Town 2-1 Wexford Youths
Goals: Aoibheann Clancy P 8′ (0-1), Kellie Brennan 21′ (1-1), Gillian Keenan 82′ (2-1)

Peamount United 1-0 Bohemians
Goals: Stephanie Roche 29′ (1-0)

Sligo Rovers 1-1 Treaty United
Goals: Cara Griffin 9′ (0-1), Lauren McLellan 83′ (1-1)


The only change of position after the last round of games in DLR Waves moving back above Bohemians. With Athlone beating Wexford Youths the gap between the top 4 is now just 3 points. Next week we’ll go through title-race permutations ahead of the final 3 rounds.

Athlone Town

Really we could have done a piece on the Midlands side every week, such has been the nature of their remarkable season. Tommy Hewitt is manager of the year no matter what happens, and what could happen is Athlone winning a league and cup double.

Over the past 3 weekends Athlone have beaten reigning champions Shelbourne in the league, knocked holders Wexford out of the cup, and gone to Wexford the following week and beat the league leaders. They are a serious team, and we are seeing the dawning of some new big names in the WNL.

Gillian Keenan scored what is a crucial header at this stage of the title race. She headed in a corner after substitute Emily Corbet did so well to win the set piece. Muireann Devaney has been a sensation. The way she moves the ball around and the ground she covers will surely see her in the Ireland set up soon. Kellie Brennan was player of the match. She scored the equalizer, having scored against Shels two weeks prior. When asked if they are eyeing up the league in her post match interview she said “Why wouldn’t ya?” That’s just it, why wouldn’t they? If they keep that team together we’ll be seeing Athlone around the top of the table for a while.

Close to a Big One

Two things nearly happened during the last game round. Cork almost went to Tolka Park and beat Shelbourne, and Treaty United nearly got a first win of the season against Sligo Rovers.

If either of the Munster sides had won it would have been deserved, Cork have come into their own unfortunately late in the season. Treaty have made a good go of games but it’s been clear they’ll likely find themselves in the second tier when it comes in.

Still, a good week with the two bottom sides showing they can be competitive. We don’t need to go back to the days of 10+ margins of victory.

Up Next

Women’s National League Round 25 – Saturday 15th October

Wexford Youths vs Sligo Rovers
Ferrycarrig Park / 16:30

Cork City vs Peamount United
Turners Cross / 17:00

DLR Waves vs Shelbourne
Whitehall Stadium / 17:00

Treaty United vs Athlone Town
Markets Field / 17:00

Bohemians vs Galway
Dalymount United / 18:00

Irish Abroad

Ireland international Chloe Mustaki scored her first professional goal last weekend.

One thing we didn’t get to talk about with no WFB last week was Clare Shine announcing her retirement.

Clare has been an excellent player in her time, but more significantly she has been an important advocate for mental health awareness in Irish sport. She’s contributed to the conversation in hugely important ways. We wish Clare all the best going forward.

Before You Go

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 (or a day closely following Wednesday) with all the Irish women’s football content you can handle.


Women’s Football Blast – Run-In 22

This week it’s all about the business end of the domestic season. Cup semi-finals take centre stage this coming weekend and just four rounds remain in the league. We also look at how Irish players did overseas.

Women’s National League

The five games last weekend saw 11 goals scored. A lower total than usual which can be put down to the league being more competitive than in previous seasons.

Women’s National League Results – September

Athlone Town 2-0 Shelbourne

Goals: Scarlett Herron 65′ (1-0), Kellie Brennan 68′ (2-0)

Cork City 1-0 Galway

Goals: Becky Cassin 89′ (1-0)

Peamount United 2-0 Sligo Rovers

Goals: Áine O’Gorman 41′ (1-0), Sadhbh Doyle 62′ (2-0)

Wexford Youths 3-0 Treaty United

Goals: Edel Kennedy 5′ (1-0), Kylie Murphy 44′ (2-0), Ciara Rossiter 45+1′ (3-0)

Bohemians 2-1 DLR Waves

Goals: Abbie Brophy 42′ (1-0), Mia Dodd 47′ (1-1), Chloe Darby P 87′ (2-1)

As It Stands

4 Rounds Remaining

The only positional change in the table is Bohemians overtaking DLR Waves and moving up to 6th place. The weekend’s results mean Treaty United are guaranteed to finish bottom of the league.

Title Run-In

The last few weeks we have been speculating whether the title race was a two, three, or four team affair. With Athlone’s performance against Shels on the weekend and Peamount picking up a win it’s clear with four games to go that there are four teams in it.

With that being said Wexford now must be heavy favorites. They moved four points clear on the weekend, and if they win three of their remaining four games they will be champions. This title race may still have a twist however.

Top 4 Remaining Fixtures

While Peamount have the weekend off, Wexford, Shelbourne, and Athlone will be competing for a place in the FAI Cup Final. No team would turn down the opportunity to play in a Cup final, but the danger is it will be a day of emotional highs or lows for each team. Wexford and Athlone face off before playing each other again in the league. Two games against the same opposition in quick succession can often lead to varying results. The loser of the cup game could see themselves as favorites for the rematch the following weekend. Interestingly the 4th semi-finalists, Bohemians, play Peamount the following week. The momentum from the cup, be it positive or negative, could carry over into the league.

Another crucial factor is that there is an international break between round 24 and 25. On October 11th, the Tuesday before round 25, Ireland will either be in Scotland or Austria for their World Cup Play-Off. Last time a total of six WNL players made the squad, with Wexford, Shelbourne, and Peamount all represented. That play-off has the potential to be one of the greatest nights in Irish football, or a complete heartbreak. Either way the players that are away will be emotionally and physically drained for their league game just days later.

Despite having the advantage in the table Wexford have what appears to be the most difficult run-in. They play the other three top four sides. Three more wins for Youths and they will be champions. Pressure will build on Peamount, Shelbourne, and Athlone as they know they cannot afford drop points.

Athlone have made sure they have had plenty to say in the title race this season. The dream could end at the hands of Wexford both in the cup and the league over the next two weeks, but they won’t fear those meetings. They showed on Saturday they don’t have to fear any team. Shels had plenty of chances as they often do, Niamh Coombes was called into action a lot in the first half. Athlone’s two quickfire goals were the stuff of champions. Two headers, from Scarlett Herron and Kellie Brenan, while under pressure. The Midlands side remained composed and didn’t creak under the pressure from Shelbourne. Athlone have every right to be in this title race, and if it all ends in two weeks they’ve gone on one hell of a run.

Vote on our poll with your real account and burner accounts

Mid-Table Matters

Last week we had a word on how well some of the new Bohs recruits were doing ahead of their game against their former side. Bohemians are continuing their impressive run. They beat Waves on the weekend, and have now won five of their last six. Abbie Brophy once again scored for them on the weekend.

There was plenty of drama late in the game at Dalymount Park. Bohs wee awarded a penalty when Erica Burke and Eve Badana went for the same ball, Burke got their first and was brought down. The forward normally takes the penalties for Bohs but had to leave the pitch to get treatment. Chloe Darby ended up taking it. Darby had to wait an age to step up, but eventually fired it into the top corner. Bohs are now just three points off Galway in 5th, and could well find themselves in the top half in just their 3rd season in the league.

Speaking of Galway, Cork City likely made an error in writing Sligo Rovers on the team sheet over the line-up for the Tribeswomen. But after last weeks statements, first from Galway WFC and then Galway United, well… timing is everything.

Galway face DLR Waves and Bohemians over the next two rounds before having difficult games against title chasers Athlone Town and Peamount United. The matches with Waves and Bohs are separated by the international break. Those two games are crucial for the Tribeswomen in securing a top half finish. Whatever happens next season in terms of having a Galway club in the league, a poor finish to the season that see’s them drop out of the top half would leave a sour taste.

DLR Waves, our team as regular readers know, are a bit of an enigma this season. Excellent performances in a win over Shelbourne at home and games against Peamount that really should have been wins have shown this side should really be contending for the title. But performances against teams elsewhere in the league have left them wanting. Their run-in will see them face Galway, Shels, Treaty, and Sligo. A lack of consistency means Waves could struggle in those games, or take the maximum of 12 points. It’s really hard to know. This is a very good Waves squad, their position doesn’t reflect their quality. That game against Galway is of crucial importance in continuing their challenge for a top half finish. Whatever happens they’ll have a chip on their shoulder next season and will be aiming to be in the conversation for the title and UCL football rather than a best of the rest finish.

Race For 8th Place

Cork closed the gap on Sligo Rovers. Here’s the thoughts of dedicated Cork City (men’s and women’s) podcast The Other Three Amigos (@TheOther3Amigos on Twitter)

Great win for Cork City with their second home win in a row in front of their biggest crowd of the season. Just reward for a squad and management team who are improving weekly.

Eileen Ring, The Other Three Amigos

Indeed Cork are finishing the season much stronger than they started it. From their last five games, the only time they shipped more than two goals was Wexford Youths last week. Outside of that they’ve had narrow losses against Waves and Athlone, a crucial win against Sligo, and now a hard-fought three points at home to Galway.

Finishing in 8th place does not over anything tangible, but it would arguably mean a great deal to Sligo and Cork. Possibly more so to Sligo, as this is their first season in the league and many tipped them to finish bottom. Cork have a difficult run of games over the next three rounds, they’ll play Shelbourne, Peamount, and Bohemians before finishing off against Treaty. Regardless of if Cork close the gap on Sligo or not continuing their positive performances is of vital importance. At this stage they can’t win anything, but they can set themselves up for a return to 2020 form where they finished in the top half and reached the cup final.

Sligo host Treaty in the next round, and a win there would see them all but secure 8th place. They’ll have a say in the title race as they go to both Wexford and Shels, and then they host DLR Waves on the final day. Avoiding a bottom two finish in their debut season would boost the feel good factor at The Showgrounds. It would be an achievement up there with beating Peamount United 3-0 earlier in the season in a game we can’t remember.


As mentioned above it’s all about the cup this weekend.

Tolka Park is the setting for a Dublin Derby between Shels and Bohs. While the cup may be a welcome distraction from losing top spot in the league, Bohs are one of the form sides in league. If this game was happening back in March or April there would not be much discussion about a competitive affair. Now you could make arguments for either side getting through. There’s a lot of pressure on Shels, ending the season without any silverware would be a disaster after their incredible run at the beginning of the campaign.

Wexford sit top of the table and host Athlone. A loss for the home side could derail their momentum somewhat. Wexford are the form side in the league at the moment so will go in as favourites.

From a neutral perspective, a Bohemians vs Athlone Town final would possibly best for the league. Having two of the newer sides in the WNL in the cup final. We talk a lot about hoping sides that join the WNL being sustainable and successful and offering a challenge, rather than just coming in and not putting it up to anyone.

Any combination of the semi-finalists will provide a good spectacle. You can watch both semi-finals live on LOITV.ie with sign-up.

Up Next

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

Women’s National League – Saturday 1st October

Galway vs DLR Waves

Eamonn Deacy Park / 14:00

Shelbourne vs Cork City

Tolka Park / 14:00

Sligo Rovers vs Treaty United

The Showgrounds / 14:00

Peamount United vs DLR Waves

PRL Park / 17:00

Athlone Town vs Wexford Youths

Athlone Town Stadium / 19:00

Irish Abroad

The WSL kicked off last weekend. Jess Ziu was one of the stars of the week making her debut for West Ham, having left Shelbourne over the Summer. Just like she did for Ireland against Slovakia she got the assist for the goal and was awarded player of the match.

Katie McCabe appeared for Arsenal in both the league and the Champions League, and she celebrated her birthday on the 21st. Happy birthday to our captain.

Liverpool got a huge win over Chelsea, beating them 2-1. Niamh Fahey, Megan Campbell, and Leanne Kiernan all played. Unfortunately Leanne Kiernan picked up an injury meaning she will miss several months of action and will require surgery. We wish Leanne a speedy recovery.

Elsewhere in the WSL Grace Moloney (Reading), Courtney Brosnan (Everton), and Megan Walsh (Brighton) all played.

In the Championship Chloe Mustaki started for Bristol City. For Birmingham Louise Quinn captained the side with Harriott Scott, Jamie Finn, and Eleanor Ryan-Doyle also featuring. Hayley Nolan and Llly Agg started for London City Lionesses, Agg was sen off for two yellow cards. Saoirse Noonan scored for Durham on the weekend, and got a little bit tangled up in the net while celebrating.

Over in the USA Denise O’Sullivan started for NC Courage in their NWSL game. They play their final home game of the season this coming weekend.

In Scotland Ciara Grant started for Hearts. Claire O’Riordan came on as a sub for Celtic.

Worth mentioning that Aston Villa beat Man City 4-3 in the WSL. Despite being out injured Ruesha Littlejohn was obviously a key figure in the Villa victory providing good bants.

Around the Web

The WNL Wrap with Emma Clinton is always worth watching with the focus this week on if Wexford Youths are champions to be.

EVOKE.ie had a nice piece on Kylie Murphy dedicating her performance this weekend to her late mam,

You can read our write-up of all this week’s WNL games on dedicated women’s football blog Impetus Football, read about all 5 games here.

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.