Ciarán Duffy of Post to Post Sport sets the scene in the FAI WNL ahead of the beginning of the second stage of the season.
With the return to action following the mid-season break, with most sides having played nine games, the league is heating up.
Unbeaten with a near-perfect record. Having interviewed multiple Peamount players and coaches over the past 3 seasons the word near will bother them. Their most recent game was a 2-2 draw against Wexford, who are the only team to have taken points off them throughout the last two seasons and were the last team to beat Peamount in a competitive game.
Eleanor Ryan-Doyle has been a sensation and is clear as top scorer in the league. The fact an Ireland call-up hasn’t come along yet is bewildering. She scores when she wants, and the evidence suggests she wants to score a lot. I witnessed first-hand an immaculate diving header against DLR Waves at the UCD Bowl, she should be an international player.
They haven’t been short on goals elsewhere, they’ve scored 26 in total with Aine O’Gorman chipping in with five. They also have the second-best defence in the league having only conceded four goals.
Peamount are clear favourites to go on to win the league as the simply do not tend to lose games. They aren’t runaway leaders, as they are just three points clear, but have taken ten points from four games against their fellow top four sides. They won’t walk the league but it will take a lot to stop them.
The closest challengers in the two previous seasons, Shels sit three points behind the leaders. Last year the league was decided in a game between Peas and Shels, the previous season we came close to needing a play-off as the title race went to the final day.
Shelbourne have been impressive this season, with a narrow loss to Peamount and a scoreless draw with Wexford the only blots on their copy book. Noelle Murray, Saoirse Noonan, and Emily Whelan have all contributed goals, and they can expect to have Ireland international Chloe Mustaki, formerly of Charlton Athletic, back from injury at some in the season as she has returned from training.
They have been solid defensively only conceding three goals, two of which were against Peamount, and look set to run the champions close once again.
A stuttering start gave way to a winning run. They’ve recently got two draws against Peamount and Shelbourne, and the only points they have dropped have been to the other sides in the top four.
They are the joint top scorers in the league. Captain Kylie Murphy has been instrumental in their success with Ireland’s newest sensation Ellen Molloy also contributing goals. Ciara Rossiter has proven herself to be the one of the best left backs Ireland has on offer and should surely be in the mix for an Ireland call-up ahead of the world cup qualifiers.
Their most recent result was a thrilling comeback against Peamount having been 2-0 down. They’ve gone unbeaten since the opening and have only conceded more than one goal on one occasion.
Tom Elmes left his post as head coach to take on a lead role with the U16’s team. We wish Tom all the best in the future.
The Waves are having their best ever season. They’ve played eight games and have only dropped points in games against the top three.
Despite being the lowest scorers in the FAI WNL, they boast one of the league’s top scorers in Carla McManus, who is sponsored by Impetus.
DLR have played some of their best football this season. They are a young team but have drastically matured over the past three seasons since Graham Kelly took over. They’ve been led by captain Catherine Cronin and vice-captain Rachel Doyle, two experienced players in the league. They boast arguably the best goalkeeper in the league in Eve Badana, and their centre-back pairing of Jess Gleeson and Niamh Barnes have been solid throughout the season.
It’s been a difficult season for Galway with head coach Billy Clery stepping away due to family commitments. Rachel Kearns has been their stand out player throughout the season. Galway have shipped heavy defeats to some of the top teams but have also picked up wins against teams below them to keep them in the top five. A break may have done them good after picking up their first win in five games.
Have put it up to most teams in the league when they’ve played them. A 6-2 win over Treaty on the opening day looked to have set the season up promisingly, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing. They were only narrowly beaten by Shelbourne and DLR Waves. Their top scorer is Erica Burke with four goals.
Head coach Niall Connolly admitted when we spoke to him on the show that the coaching staff had possibly tried to change too much in their first season in charge. They got their first win of the season last month against Cork, and before the break they beat Bohemians. It looks like things may start clicking a bit more in the latter part of the season. Rebecca Horgan is their top scorer with four goals.
It’s been a difficult season for Athlone but they finally got their first win of the campaign at the end of May against Galway. They have had the most players sent off this season with four players being shown red cards. Katelyn Keogh is their top scorer with three goals.
After a successful season last year things haven’t gone to plan for Cork, who are yet to win a game. The highlight of their year has been Lauren Egbuloniu’s form after she returned from injury late last year.
This marks my final article for Impetus. I have enjoyed my time here and appreciate the opportunity given to me by Ben and the site.
Our coverage of the FAI WNL will continue every Wednesday with a round-up of all the previous weekend’s action.