With the FAI Women’s National League season concluding last weekend, Impetus sponsored striker Carla McManus of DLR Waves, who finished in fourth place in Ireland’s top tier – their best-ever finish – reviewed her season with Ben Gilby and looked ahead to 2022 18/22/21.
Above: Carla jumps for joy after scoring for DLR Waves earlier this season. Photo supplied by: DLR Waves
It’s been a dramatic season in the FAI WNL with the title race between Shelbourne and Peamount United only decided in the second half of the final match of the season. Just behind the top two was DLR Waves, who recorded a club-best fourth-place finish.
The Waves’ top scorer was Impetus sponsored Carla McManus, who has represented the Republic of Ireland at U16, U17 and U19 level. It’s been a particularly memorable season for her.
“It’s been a great year with college, football, and turning 21. A massive difference to 2020 where I couldn’t play and was only coming back from injury, it’s a great feeling to get a full season under my belt. Looking back on the year it’s been predominantly good memories. Obviously, a few losses in football but overall, massive improvements are being made.”
The season was hugely exciting in the FAI WNL, and Carla gave her opinion of an incredible title race and identified what she thinks DLR Waves need to do in order to challenge next time around.
“I think that the league is a lot closer than it was in previous years, with all teams putting in some big performances and a few shock results. For ourselves, we wanted to get into the top three or four on the table and we accomplished fourth position with three games to go. But we definitely are capable of beating the top three teams, I feel we need to capitalize on our chances and be more clinical in finishing them. The results against the top three have always been fine margins, which is frustrating. To break into the top three we need to beat those sides regularly, which I know, at our strongest, we can do.”
“For me personally, I feel that I have had a good season, I stayed fit for it all apart from a few dodgy ankle moments but overall I’m delighted to actually be able to play this year. I’ve scored eight goals, I would have liked a few more but that’ll be my aim for next year.
I think I have improved with my link-up play with midfielders and my runs into the box, I’m in the right position in the box so it’s only a matter of time until the crosses find me and fall to me in the right areas. I will continue to work on these things and also just being more direct and confident in myself to carry the ball to bring back how I used to play pre-injury.
“It’s still a mental battle and there’s more in me that I feel has been a bit held back because of my injury in the back of my mind but it’s something I’ll definitely work on!”
For Carla one of the major reasons behind the continuing improvement at DLR Waves is the atmosphere on and off the pitch.
“Waves are a very professional club, we try to do everything as if we were a professional team. The competition is high and nobody is guaranteed a place, you work for your place and that’s an atmosphere you will thrive in, which I love.
“The club is a very comfortable and happy place to be, we are all rooting for each other and building together. The craic off the pitch is great, we have a great laugh and everybody gets on well. There is a great hype around the training grounds too, when somebody does something good we all hype each other.”
Carla spoke of how she has appreciated the support of Impetus this season in terms of sponsorship.
“The sponsorship is great for exposure. Impetus are really nice and it’s great that they are supporting me and DLR from afar. It’s good to know that there’s a group of people outside the FAI WNL circle rooting for me and the team and clapping for our successes. It gives a chance for WNL exposure over in the UK and further afield.”
It is not just the FAI WNL that has been making great strides this season, the Republic of Ireland women’s national team has been awarded equal pay with their male counterparts. Something which has been a long time coming, as Carla reflected.
“I know that the senior women have gone from struggling with keeping their travelling gear and tracksuits to getting equal pay. I think that speaks volumes for the steps being made to more equality between men and women in Irish football. There is a long way to go and we need a lot more support at our games from supporters of football to get anywhere near the men’s game. But it’s improving bit by bit.”
With the 2021 season now over, Carla turned her thoughts to the New Year and what she wants to achieve over the next few months.
“I am beyond excited for off-season training. I will be working with strength and conditioning coach John Sullivan and a nutrition coach to get better in the offseason, John will help me with the gym and the gym is my happy place when I’m not on the pitch so I’m really looking forward to working there to enhance my on-pitch performance.
“I am also in contact with a nutrition coach to get the best out of my gym programs. Going into pre-season in January I will be strong, fit, and buzzing to go.”
Paul Farrell, the first team manager of Cork City WFC spoke to Impetus editor Ben Gilby about the club’s history, the current campaign, and their hopes for the future.
Cork City’s women’s team has been active now for about 11 years. Paul details the history behind the club.
“Originally, the women’s club was out on its own, but gradually it came under the Cork City FC banner in 2018, just after we won the 2017 Cup, during which time we were partly under the club, Now we’re fully one club in a number of aspects including marketing, budgeting and jerseys.
“We started off with a senior team, then we developed a junior and senior academy. Since then, we developed an Under 17 WNL team, an Under 19 WNL team, and obviously the main WNL team. Every year, the women’s side of the club grows with the number of girls in our squads.”
With light beginning to emerge from the end of the Coronavirus tunnel, Paul highlighted the impact that it has had on the club.
“In lockdown, it was mostly zoom training, with our strength and conditioning coaches, physios, and analysis staff giving the players plans to stick to throughout lockdown. When we returned to play, it was great but obviously difficult as there are still a lot of protocols to be followed, such as no access to dressing rooms, and meetings limited to 15 minutes. It’s difficult but we have to deal with it and move on. “On the flip side, it was probably good for the girls, as they’re now closer than ever, seeing as training was the only thing they were doing throughout lockdown.”
As with any other club, there are challenges off the pitch apart from covid. Cork City’s are similar to many of their FAI WNL rivals.
It’s difficult to get money in through sponsorship. The marketing and commercial staff at Cork City have been superb for that, but that’s something that’s always difficult for a WNL club,” said Paul.
“Another challenge that we face is that because we are always growing, that naturally creates more work and more things need to be done and looked after. It sometimes becomes difficult trying to get as many volunteers as we need but again the club has been fantastic here and the volunteers are working really hard but you could always do with more volunteers.”
With the FAI WNL now entering its last final weeks, Paul highlighted how things have gone.
“This season has gone as we had planned, we’d obviously hoped to be further up the table, but with a number of players departing the club early in the season and a number of players being lost to injury, there’s been a big turnover in the squad. We’ve also lost a number of players mid-season to scholarships in the USA. That has made things difficult for us.
“Of the 11 that started the cup final last year, four of them are still here. That’s a massive turnover in players and in quality. The girls that have come in are doing really well, and the underage girls coming through are developing and now need to get experience in the senior setup. Our aim for the rest of the season is to continue developing those players, get some good performances under our belt each week and get as high up the table as we can. We need to build for next season now.”
With this being the first season that Impetus has covered the FAI WNL, Paul was keen to share some background about the competition.
“The standard in the league has always been really good, but it has also definitely improved over the last number of years. All the clubs in the league are now looking beyond local level. There are a number of players in the senior international squad currently playing in the league, and many more of the international players played in the league in the past, so the quality has always been there.
“It’s a nine-team league at the moment, you’ve got a handful of Dublin clubs and then a few spread out across the country like Galway, Athlone, Treaty, Wexford, and ourselves. The league is developing across the country and we know that there is going to be more clubs getting involved over the next couple of years. That’s also going to raise the standard and make it more professional.
“There has also been huge developments off the pitch, in terms of promotion and marketing for the league. Between social media coverage and media in general, it has improved tenfold over the last number of years. The streaming service that LOITV provides shows all of the WNL games for free, showcasing the league more to the public and that has definitely increased the profile of the women’s game in Ireland.”
As Paul touched on earlier, Cork City is more than just about their senior FAI WNL club. There is a clear pathway for girls within the province of Munster to develop with the club.
“Girls from the age of ten can come into our underage academy, where they can progress the whole way up to our U17 WNL team, U19 WNL team, and also the senior setup. We’ve got a great relationship with all the other clubs in Cork. We have done coaching sessions with many clubs across the Munster region – in Kerry, Waterford, and Tipperary, so we’ve got great links with clubs across Munster as well. We’d like to build on that to ensure that there is a pathway for girls to come right through with Cork City and play at the highest level in Ireland.
“We’ve currently got over 40 players registered across our U17 & U19 National league squads, and we have 24 registered to our senior team. A few of those are still eligible to play for our U19 side as well, so there’s an overlap there.
“I can only see that number growing in the coming years, with possibly an U15 team introduced to a National League setup.”
Cork City, like all clubs, rely on volunteers to keep functioning. Paul outlined the roles and influence that their own volunteers have.
“There’s a long list of unsung heroes at our club, but I won’t go into too much detail, because I would probably end up forgetting to mention someone!
“The women’s committee has been superb to us, they ran the club before we went in under Cork City, and have continued to do great work for the women’s section. The board and the staff at Cork City have also been a huge help to us, we wouldn’t be where we are today without them. All of the volunteers that we have, have also put in a tireless amount of work. All of our coaching staff, from the senior setup to the academy, are all volunteers, and they dedicate so much time from their week and weekend and put in so much work to create that atmosphere and environment to help the players progress to that elite level of football.
Paul also highlighted the ever-increasing growth in player development across Ireland.
“The underage teams are training more, they’ve been putting in more time and are better educated, so they’re coming through the ranks as better players, which raises the standard in the underage leagues but also at senior level when they filter through to the league.
“This has a knock-on effect as well with the international team – look at our own Eabha O’Mahony, who has recently gone on a scholarship to Boston College. She has been in the international senior setup since she was 16 and has got a number of caps for them. It shows that there are a large number of girls coming through the underage ranks due to the better structures in place, and better quality and more qualified coaches in place which again raises the standards all around. That is coming into the WNL as well – all coaches in the league need to have a minimum of an A Licence.
“I do of course think there’s still more room for development for the women’s game on and off the pitch. We moved to the men’s club’s stadium, Turner’s Cross this year, which has been a huge step forward for us, but all teams in the league should be playing at the best available stadiums, the standard should be kept at those levels.
“In terms of our own club, anything that the boys’ or men’s sides get, the girls get as well. Everyone at Cork City is on an equal footing and has the same opportunities.
We closed our conversation by looking ahead to the future – it is one that Paul is hugely excited about.
“I think there will be a lot more changes in the next five years. The women’s game has developed rapidly and that is only going to continue. Higher crowds at games, hopefully funding will increase – maybe expenses for the girls or a bit of money per game.
“Hopefully the coverage and credit that the women’s game gets online will continue, and the promotion of the women’s game keeps getting better. It would be great if we get to see further expansion in the league, with more teams joining and maybe even adding a second division.
“For our own club, it’s about making sure that we continue to compete at the highest level that we can. We want to compete at the top. We’ll continue to develop our underage teams, and develop good players and role models both on and off the pitch.
“Over the next five years, I can see the women’s side of Cork City just increasing in size and improving again, helping us to lead at the top. If the players that come through aren’t ready to make the step to senior or Cork City, they can go back to the local league in Cork, which will help raise the standard of those leagues, in turn creating better quality players and improving the overall standard of women’s football in Cork.”
In what will be a first for the League – which was established in 2011 – a national broadcaster will show four League games free-to-air over the coming weeks and they will also be available globally via the TG4 Player App.
The timing of this announcement coincides with a thrilling title race between Peamount United, Shelbourne and Wexford Youths, a battle to finish inside the top five involving DLR Waves, Galway WFC and Bohemians, and plenty to play for amongst Cork City, Treaty United and Athlone Town.
Sacar Beo will be presented by Galway sports broadcaster Máire Treasa Ní Cheallaigh, who will be joined by a team of expert football analysts including UEFA A Licence coach Laura Cusack and former Cork City manager Ronan Collins. The series is produced by Fogarty Fenwick Services.
Coverage will commence with Shelbourne versus DLR Waves on Saturday October 2 at 5pm at Tolka Park.
TG4’s Head of Sport Rónán Ó Coisdealbha said: “TG4 is delighted to have football back on the station and we look forward to an action-packed season from the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League. We are very proud to continue to lead the way in broadcasting of women’s sport in Ireland and to bring the best of sporting action to our audiences.
“This announcement reaffirms our dedication to the broadcasting of women’s sport in Ireland. In 2021 TG4 has brought the Women’s Australian Football League and the Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Rugby Championship to Irish TV audiences for the first time, while also increasing their coverage of the LGFA Lidl Leagues by 150%.”
League of Ireland Director Mark Scanlon welcomed the announcement by saying: “It is fantastic to be able to raise the profile of the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League even higher by teaming up with TG4 to give the players even more visibility through the broadcasting of live games.
“We have enjoyed unprecedented success with LOITV this season, where every game has been available to stream live for free. But having a national broadcaster come onboard to promote the League is a huge milestone.
“It’s important that we continue to improve in all areas of promoting the game. We are excited to work with TG4 and will hopefully attract even more newcomers to the League as a result of this partnership.”
Details of the remaining games that will be shown live on TG4 will be announced soon.
Impetus’ Abi Ticehurst rounds up all the action from Week Twenty of the FAI Women’s National League as the top three of the table gets ever tighter (3/9/21).
Cork City 1-3 Shelbourne
Shels will have had one eye on the Peamount United v Wexford Youths game whilst they took on Cork City in this game week 20 fixture. Such is life that Emily Whelan was of course on the scoresheet first for the Shels after an Alex Kavanagh assist. Goals from Noelle Murray and Ciara Grant secured the three points to push the Reds top of the table. Nathalie O’Brien denied Shelbourne a clean sheet with a goal for Cork.
Wexford Youths 1-1 Peamount United
The most exciting clash of the weekend and Wexford proved it’s not a two horse title race. Alannah McEvoy gave the visitors the lead after a scramble in the box saw the ball roll across the line, but they found it difficult to establish any real rhythm, potentially due to game intensity having played in the Champions League. Aoibheann Clancy levelled the field when she scored the equaliser as she converted a penalty just before half time. Just six points separates the two top three at this point in the season. Peamount are now two points adrift of leaders Shelbourne in second place, but still hold a game in hand.
Athlone Town 2-1 Treaty United
Arguably, Athlone’s best game of the season which jumped them two places in the table. Emily Corbet was on target as she struck a convincing penalty to put Athlone one up, however Gillian Keenan was able to put Treaty back in the game as she equalised for the visitors. An evenly matched fixture throughout, but Town were able to nab all three points as O’Haodha fizzed one in from close range to make it two.
Galway WFC 0-0 Bohemians
A game for the keepers in this encounter, neither side pressed too hard, which is reflected in the score line. Leah Hayes Cohen and Courtney Maguire were both able to collect shots comfortably to deny either side a chance to take all three points. Both sides will likely be happy to maintain their mid table spots as a result.
In other news
Ground-breaking news as the FAI confirm an equal pay deal has been struck with both the Women’s & Men’s squads ahead of their World Cup qualifiers. They will receive the same match fees on international duty. A reminder that the women are currently ranked 33rd in the world, whilst the men sit in 47th.
Republic of Ireland announced a home friendly against Olympic semi-finalists Australia on Wednesday 22nd September at Tallaght Stadium, Dublin.
A league break will take place next week as the EVOKE.ie FAI Women’s Senior Cup Quarter-Finals take place for the squads.
Peamount United exited the Champions League having been defeated 5-2 by, professional team and 10 times league winners, Spartak Subotica of Serbia.
It was confirmed midweek that Shelbourne midfielder Jamie Finn has made the transfer to Women’s Super League side, Birmingham City.
Abi Ticehurst updates us with all the action from Round Nineteen in the FAI WNL as Shelbourne gained a vital win to close the gap on Peamount United at the top and Bohemians involved in a hugely important match in the context of the lower reaches of the table (25/8/21).
Bohemians 5-1 Treaty United:
Bohs will be over the moon with this winning result in the wet, as they secured their fourth victory in their league campaign this season. Lisa Murphy opened the scoring for the side as she headed home, Erika Burke made it two before half time. Abbie Brophy, Chloe Darby and Lara Phibbs were also on the scoresheet for Bohemians too with a second header from Darby as they made the set piece look well drilled. A clean sheet wasn’t to be as Jenna Slattery converted from the penalty spot to give Treaty their consolation goal.
Shelbourne 4-0 Athlone Town:
An important day for Shelbourne for two reasons, a chance to reclaim top spot from Peamount United in the title race and a return from 18 months out with injury for Chloe Mustaki and they did not disappoint.
Inside 15 minutes, an Emily Whelan strike from 25 yards was fumbled by Abbigayle Royanne to put Shelbourne ahead. Jamie Finn then subsequently brought down in the box and Alex Kavanagh coolly slotted one home from the penalty spot to put the Shels 2-0 up. Saoirse Noonan was also taken down in the box but unable to convert her own chance to make it three. Leah Doyle was there to ensure the third as she snuck in front of her defender to score at short range. Noonan put things to bed in the 88th minute, not before having missed a second penalty as she was once again denied by Royanne.
Galway WFC 6-1 Cork City:
Cork City were 1-0 up inside 15 minutes after a ‘screamer into the top corner’ by none other than Eve Mangan but that was to be the only action Cork would see for the rest of the game as Galway fought hard to secure the win at home.
Chloe Singleton kicked things off for Galway as she scooped one in at the back post, before Kate Slevin and Emma Starr put the home side 3-1 up at the half time whistle. Cork looked to have the wind taken out their sails in the second half as the relentless efforts of Galway continued, Aoife Thompson making an impact from the bench inside the six yard box. Starr with a brace as she took aim but was denied by Abbey McCarthy before nabbing the rebound to make it five. Not to be outdone , Ellie O’Flaherty struck at goal just before the final whistle to finish the game with six goals for the hosts.
In other news
The game between DLR Waves and Wexford Youths was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
Peamount United’s UEFA Women’s Champions League tie with FC Nike Tbilisi on Saturday 21st August was initially postponed then cancelled due to a positive Covid-19 test within the Georgian side’s camp. The matter of result now remains in the hands of UEFA and evidence will be submitted to the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body, for a decision to be taken in accordance with Annex H of the Regulations.
Saturday 28th August
Cork City v Shelbourne (14:00)
Galway v Bohemians (14:00)
Wexford Youths v Peamount United (18:30)
Athlone Town v Treaty United (19:00)
Impetus‘ Abi Ticehurst has been nominated in the Women’s Football Content category in the 2021 Football Content Awards. To vote for her, tweet the following message:
I am voting for @abfrti1 in @The_FCAs for #BestInWomensFootball
Wexford Youths are the most successful club the FAI Women’s National League’s history and are enjoying another great season this time round. The club’s media officer Ronan McCarthy spoke to Impetus editor Ben Gilby about the club, its development and their aims (12/8/21).
Wexford Youths are one of the most successful teams in the FAI Women’s National League. They were founder members of the competition for its inaugural 2011/12 season.
“The Women’s National League is now in its tenth year, and there have been a core group of three clubs that have played every season – Wexford Youths, Peamount United and Cork City. Shelbourne also trace their lineage to Raheny United, who were also in the debut season,” Ronan explained.
“Wexford, Peamount and Shelbourne have mostly shared the silverware in the years since then, and it is another exciting three-way battle for the league this year. In recent seasons the league has expanded to include new clubs, in Treaty United, Bohemians and Athlone Town.”
“Wexford Youths have seen great success in the years since then thanks to an incredible generation of players, including Kylie Murphy, Rianna Jarrett, Claire O’Riordan, Ciara Rossiter, Lauren Dwyer, Edel Kennedy and Aisling Frawley,” highlighted Ronan.
“We won the Women’s National League four times in its first 10 years of competition, a record unmatched by any club in the league. We’re continuing our challenge this year, being in the title mix for the 2021 season, with an exciting generation of young players coming through the ranks in the shape of Ellen Molloy, Aoibheann Clancy and Della Doherty.”
This season comes amidst the struggles of the coronavirus pandemic. Ronan outlined how the past sixteen months or so have impacted the club.
“We badly missed our fans during the matches played behind closed doors. We have a large community of supporters who have a close relationship to our players, and their support was greatly missed during that period.
“We received great support from our sponsors and the FAI in carrying on our league campaign safely and sustainably, and we are pleased to think of that period being behind us now.”
With it looking like there is light at the end of the covid tunnel, Ronan highlighted the other challenges that the club are looking to meet head on off the pitch.
“A major challenge is to expand our fan base, and spread the enjoyment of women’s football to a wider number of society in County Wexford. Our years of success have certainly helped our exposure in a local sense, and we hope that our hard work in match live streaming has also assisted that process. However there is certainly more to do, and now that fans can return to matches we hope to really increase attendances for the remainder of this year.”
With the league approaching the half way mark, Ronan is clear about the club’s aims for the campaign: “Our players are well used to success in this league, and they will be aiming to bring the league title back to Ferrycarrig Park in 2021. We know that Peamount and Shelbourne have also strengthened their squads, and it will be an exciting three-way battle. We also have a good record of success in the Women’s FAI Cup, and our players will always target silverware for the club.”
It’s far from all about the first team at Wexford though, as Ronan highlighted the player pathway with exists at the Youths: “We were proud to launch a new academy system this August, from U13 to U15 level. We also enter teams in the U17 and U19 national leagues. We have excellent relationships with local clubs, and we are proud to further the development of the young players coming from local clubs like North End, St. Leonards, and many more. I believe we have somewhere in the region of 60 players at Wexford Youths Women from the U17, U19 and senior teams.”
Those sixty players rely on the support of a group of valued volunteers at the club, with Ronan pointing to the work of two people in particular.
“We are always hugely grateful for the work of Eddie Cullen and Tom Dunne, who have kept the club ticking over from the very beginning. They are hugely important in preparing the kit, equipment, and logistics of the club.”
The conversation ended by looking at the women’s game more widely in the Republic of Ireland. From a WNL perspective, Ronan sees some really positive developments.
“The national league has a strong presence in the Irish Women’s National Team, and the domestic leagues are vital for the progression of young women in football.
“We hope the introduction of women’s football livestreaming to LOITV.ie will help promote the profile of women’s football to the wider Irish football fan base, as this will be a huge contributor to the success of women’s football as a whole.”
The future, for Ronan is bright both at Wexford Youths, and internationally for the Repubic of Ireland:
“We are bringing through an exciting new generation of players, and we are hugely excited for their development in the years to come. Ellen Molloy, Aoibheann Clancy and Della Doherty are already playing a role in the National teams at senior and U19 level, and I am sure they will be an integral part of the senior teams in the years to come.”
Abi Ticehurst updates us with all the action from Round Sixteen in the FAI WNL and the results from the midweek Round Seventeen (6/8/21).
Galway 1-2 Shelbourne
Keeva Keenan has certainly made an entrance having signed from Celtic Women at the beginning of July as she put Shels 1-0 up with nothing short of a screamer from 35 yards in the 35th minute. Galway weren’t to shy away from a chance however, as Lynsey McKey put the Gals in the mix. Jess Zui was back on the scoresheet for the away side however to clinch the win. A fairly measured run out for the title contenders who didn’t look like they were at full capacity despite the convincing performance. Plenty left in the tank for the side.
Cork City 0-5 Peamount United
Peamount United are defending champions for a reason and this was just the performance to showcase this talent. Dearbháile Beirne, recent first team breaker was on the scoresheet, Stephanie Roche netted two and who else but Sabhbh Doyle to score a brace also. Despite hard fought attempts by Cork, they just weren’t able to penetrate the Peas defence and were left with nothing on the scoresheet at the full time whistle.
Bohemians 0-1 Wexford Youths
An initial attempt from the penalty spot for Kylie Murphy was denied and the rebound goal called offside, but she redeemed things for the Youths as a defensive error from the Bohs saw her nip in front of the last defender to slot one home. Not much to be said for Sean Byrne’s side offensively, however they kept a tight line in the second half to deny Wexford any more goals.
DLR Waves 1-1 Athlone Town
Athlone will no doubt be elated to have nabbed a point against 4th place DLR as a Kellie Brennan penalty secured the draw against a well drilled Waves. Jetta Berrill put the home side ahead with a short range shot catching out the keeper, but they were unable to hold on to the lead as they looked a little like they’d sat back for the rest of the game.
In other news
Republic of Ireland WNT Manager Vera Pauw was in attendance at the Bohs and Wexford game and the DLR v Athlone match, no doubt keeping an eye on the Irish talent for international purposes.
Kylie Murphy was awarded the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League ‘Player of the Month’ Award for June and July 2021 after outstanding performances for Wexford Youths.
There will be a Dublin derby in the First Round of the 2021 FAI Women’s Senior Cup as Bohemians will host DLR Waves to be played on the week ending the 15th of August.
There was also a midweek round of action this time which saw the following results:
Shelbourne 3-2 Bohemians
Treaty United 1-2 Cork City
Peamount United 2-1 DLR Waves
Athlone Town 1-2 Galway
Abi Ticehurst updates us with all the action from Round Fifteen of action in the FAI WNL as Shelbourne and Peamount United remain separated by the slenderest of margins at the top.
Wexford Youths 4-1 Cork City
Leading by example, Kylie Murphy netted two goals for Wexford to set the pace in this game. Ellen Molloy was also in on the action as she struck one and soon after a strike from Sinead Taylor confirmed the fourth goal. Cork City weren’t happy to see a goalless trip from themselves and the consistent Eva Mangan was there to pull one back for Cork. City keeper Abby McCarthy put in an good performance despite suffering the after effects of her second Covid jab. Wexford continue their push for the title as they sit just one point behind Shelbourne and Peamount.
Athlone Town 1-2 Peamount United
Emily Corbet opened the scoring in this game for Athlone, a shock in itself given how strong Peamount’s campaign so far this season has been. Naoisha McAloon rushed out to save but Corbet was quick to clock the error and lobbed the Peamount shot-stopper. Alannah McEvoy put the visitors to rights after a sweet strike at Abbiegayle Royanne put the Peas level. Athlone fought a hard game for the full 90 which included a sending off for the away squad in the 84th minute as Tiegan Ruddy faced a straight red for a pull back on Kellie Brennan. Despite being down to 10, Áine O’Gorman finished things off for Peamount and clinched the three points as she chipped Royanne. Peamount sit level at the top of the table with Shelbourne, just one goal behind making the difference.
Shelbourne 7-2 Treaty United
Treaty United were forced onto the backfoot by the title racers from the blow of the kick off whistle. Shels were two goals up inside four minutes with Emily Whelan and Saoirse Noonan netting. Noonan with a second long range effort and Jessie Stapleton converting from the free-kick (see video below). Keeva Keenan and Ciara Grant made it five and six before long. However, Treaty weren’t out of the fight, as Jenna Slattery caught Amanda Budden out to slot the ball past her just before half time. Mia Dodd made it seven for Shels and a consolatory second courtesy of Slattery again.
Shels extend their lead by just a single goal at the top of the table in the title race against Peamount.
The fixture between Bohemians and DLR Waves was called off.
In other news
Golden boot race
Eleanor Ryan-Doyle (Peamount United) sits comfortably at the top with 14 goals, whilst Áine O’Gorman (Peamount United) follows suit with 9 and Saoirse Noonan (Shelbourne) and Ellen Molloy (Wexford Youths) match up. Kyle Murphy (Wexford Youths) with eight.
Golden glove race
In first place is Shelbourne’s keeper Amanda Budden, who leads the pack with eight clean sheets, whilst DLR Wave’s Eve Badana follows closely behind with six. Meanwhile Naoisha McAloon (Peamount United) and Ciamh Gray (Wexford Youths) are tied for third. Peamount are in the rather unique position of occupying the top five with a second keeper, Niamh Reid-Burke who has three clean sheets to her name.
Saturday 24th July
Galway v Shelbourne (14:00)
Cork City v Peamount United (14:00)
Bohemians v Wexford Youths (14:00)
DLR Waves v Athlone Town (16:00)
Abi Ticehurst brings us up to date with all the week’s action in the FAI WNL with a big game near the bottom and a controversial ending to the top four battle between DLR Waves and Shelbourne (21/7/21).
In the Spotlight: Cork and Athlone share the spoils in bottom of the table clash
Ahead of the game, Impetus caught up with people from both clubs to set the scene for this important clash. Cork City defender Shaunagh McCarthy told me: “I felt confident going into the game at the weekend. We prepared well during the week as a team and we set out to get all 3 points. The spirit around the team has been really high which has helped us to feel confident going into recent games.”
Prior to kick-off, Athlone Town Assistant Manager Anthony Fay told us: “We knew travelling down to Cork it was always going to be a hard game, we know Cork are a good team with match winners all over the park. But within the camp were quietly confident of getting all 3 points, we had a game plan that nearly work. Also, we know we have a quality squad with some very young exciting players”
This was a bottom of the table clash that didn’t disappoint! A pacey start to the game from both sides as it began end to end but ultimately Athlone kicked things off with a strike at goal early on, however Abby McCarthy made light work of the save and the game continued.
McCarthy was in action again in the 12th minute but proved her shot stopping worth once more. That said, just moments later McCarthy was off her line and a defensive nightmare ensued as the Cork defenders struggled to clear the ball which meant that Melissa O’Kane was able to take a chance to put Athlone ahead to open the scoring for the afternoon.
Though both settled in the game relatively quickly, Athlone certainly dominated more of the play, calling McCarthy into action on several occasions. However, Cork’s Sophie Liston was able to dance her way through the midfield and defence in a run down the right wing, but for all her efforts no-one in the box was able to capitalise.
Fear not, shortly after a loose ball on the edge of the box was caught by Éabha O’Mahony and Cork nabbed an equaliser. Cork captain Becky Cassin had a dangerous free kick just outside the box, but much like Liston’s attempt, there was no-one able to make the most of the soaring ball. Shortly after, Cassin was involved in a foul and the ref saw fit to blow for half time as she was receiving treatment.
All cylinders firing from both sides as the second half kicked off with a cute little link up between Liston and O’Mahony, but not enough pace on the shot saw it roll just wide of the post. Quick to counter, Athlone chase the ball to the other half and are awarded a corner and it’s in the back of the net, Roisin Molloy with the goal after what looked like a foul on McCarthy.
McKevitt makes a surging run forward, having been a real nuisance to Athlone all game, but to no avail for Cork. At the 60 minute mark at this point and it’s evident the sun is taking it’s toll as much of the game’s previous pace is reduced from here on out. Some slick last ditch defending from Ciara McNamara to deny a third game for Athlone, which would’ve likely put the game to bed.
Cork once again on the counter as a lovely bit of switch play from Eve Mangan and Sophie Listor drives the play forward, a cross swinging in but again no-one able to get on the end of it. A Cork freekick results, but the ball floats beyond the players and Athlone immediately counter, Katelyn Keogh races forward and is able to bypass several Cork players before she cuts inside in the box and shoots at goal, however the attempt flashes wide.
Athlone continue to look dangerous in the final ten when Emily Corbett catches a loose ball at the back, but she can’t convert the shot despite McCarthy being dangerously far out the box. It looked as though Athlone were set to take all three points at Turner’s Cross, but a quick pass and play routine from Lauren Egbuloniu, O’Mahony and Cassin replacement, Christina Dring meant they were able to pinch a point in the 90th minute. City evidently finding some pace and power in the final minutes of an exciting game.
Talking after the match, Cork City defender Shaunagh McCarthy told Impetus: “I thought the sun played a huge factor on the game. It was hard to keep up the intensity with the heat but I felt that we all put in a massive shift as a team to grind out the point. We know it wasn’t our best performance of the season but we worked together to help each other out and get through the 90 minutes. We all felt that we could have done better but we will only improve on that performance going into the Wexford game this weekend.”
Athlone’s assistant manager Anthony Fay told me, “When we look back on the game we feel we dropped two points, no disrespect to Cork and all credit goes to them for the way they fought till the final whistle. On the balance of play we had the majority of the clear cut chances – if we are to climb up the table then we need to start finishing out game. That is our last two games we conceded two late goals to leave the four points behind us.
“The team overall played well. We have a very young team and we are always learning ever game. I thought Roisin Molly, Muireann Devaney, Chloe Fylnn and Laurie Ryan were the stand out players for us. We will dust ourselves down and go again next week against a very talented experienced Peamount side.”
I admire Cork’s confidence to play out from the back with Abby McCarthy proving herself as a shot stopper and comfortable with her feet. Though I’m not sure such a tactic will be as safe to play during the likes of the top of the table. Athlone certainly used it to their advantage on occasion to put the pressure on Cork. Also mentions for Fiona Owens who terrorised the Cork midfield consistently throughout. Sara McKevitt was here, there and everywhere, trojan work rate to push the game on for Becky Cassin proving just why she captains the side as she battled on tirelessly despite two huge knocks.
FT Cork City 2-2 Athlone Town
Wexford sit quietly and comfortably in third spot as they continue to build on their return from the break. A first half goal from Edel Kennedy was enough to secure the three points for the side despite them having numerous chances, including one for Aisling Frawley. Galway will be disappointed not to have at least got on the scoresheet in this one. However, Wexford’s pace proved too much for the home side and their title race march.
FT Galway 0-1 Wexford Youths
A welcome victory for Peamount here as they race with Shelbourne for the top spot. These five goals will have put them in good stead as the sides are neck and neck on point with just goal difference the defining factor. A solid performance by the Peas with goals from Sadhbh Doyle, two from Eleanor Ryan-Doyle, Alannah McEvoy and Karen Duggan rounding things off. Aoife Cronin spoiling the clean sheet for Niamh Reid-Burke to score what would be a consolatory goal for Treaty.
FT Peamount United 5-1 Treaty United
The ‘clean sheet race leaders’ faced one another in this match up with Amanda Budden on top with eight for Shelbourne and Eve Badana with six for DLR Waves heading into the fixture. Saoirse Noonan was all fired up for this encounter which included an overhead kick in the first half but to no avail as Badana swiped the strike away. But a determined Noonan notched goal number seven shortly after the break to put the Shels ahead. Jetta Berrill got in the action for DLR to scatter the title racers chances with a fantastic goal.
Super sub Rebecca Cooke would steal the glory but not without a degree of controversy. The move started with what appeared to be a foul throw which, staggeringly the officials all missed and ended with Cook’s silky left-footed strike to secure the win for Shels, who find themselves level on points with Peamount.
Saturday 24th July
Shelbourne v Treaty United (14:00)
Bohemians v DLR Waves (14:00)
Wexford Youths v Cork City (18:30)
Athlone Town v Peamount United (19:00)
by Abi Ticehurst (14/7/21)
“We want to give a good account of ourselves, as we’re representing Peamount,” said Peamount United boss James Callaghan as his team’s opponents were revealed in UEFA Women’s Champions League draw.
“It’s occasions like these that I feel it’s important to highlight the need for our league to go semi-professional. A task force should be set up of key individuals and agencies to look into exactly what’s needed to go semi pro with a collective goal to go professional.
“If this was to successfully happen, I believe we would see Irish teams like Peamount progressing a lot further in the Champions Leagues as the Women’s National League would be a lot a stronger, subsequently more of our best players will stay in the country to play their football which will only benefit the senior international team hopefully resulting in qualifications for senior competitions on a consistent basis.” Callaghan added.
Peamount’s UWCL journey so far
In an historic move for the Republic of Ireland, Peamount United were the first team, men or women, to qualify for the knockout stages of a European competition during the 2011/12 season. The South Dublin based side finished second in their group and, as the best runners-up, qualified for the round of thirty-two.
They played the following fixtures:
Rayo Vallecano 1–0 Peamount United
Peamount United 7–0 Krka
Pärnu JK 1–5 Peamount United
With two wins and one loss, Peamount finished second in the table and faced French giants Paris Saint Germain. Incidentally, PSG had also qualified for the UWCL for the first time. PSG secured a 2-0 win in the first leg and a 3-0 win in the second leg, which led to the departure of Peamount from the competition.
Having won the 2011–12 Women’s National League, Peamount United once again qualified for the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the season commencing the 2012–13. They were unable to make it out the group stage.
They played the following fixtures:
SFK 2000 4-0 Peamount United
Peamount United 5-0 ASA Tel Aviv University
Cardiff Met. Ladies 0-4 Peamount United
The club put in a great effort in last season’s Champions League when they took on Glasgow City, quarter-finalists in 2019/20. Club secretary Elaine Harrington described that game to Impetus as being: “A surprise to us how well we did (Peamount took City to a penalty shoot-out), we worked hard to prepare but the fact the girls all have to return to college / work can put a little strain on them.”
Looking ahead to the new Champions League campaign, manager James Callaghan said: “Everyone here in Peamount are really excited to be playing in this year’s Champions League. After forcing Glasgow City to the last kick of the game to bring it to penalties, it was brilliant from the girls, however we want to go one step further this year after getting knocked out on penalties.”
Abi Ticehurst rounds up all of the action as Peamount United looked to get back off the canvas after their first defeat last tie out. She brings us all the action from the latest round of FAI Women’s National League action (14/7/21).
In the Spotlight:
Despite a fantastic performance from Cork City, it was DLR Waves who ran out 1-0 winners at a sold out UCD Bowl as a limited crowd was allowed into the venue for the first time since the pandemic.
Second bottom Cork belied their lowly status. They pressed the hosts from the off and kept Eve Badana busy in the Waves goal. It took until just before the twenty minute mark for DLR to have their first real chance when Rachel Doyle’s viciously swirling shot from the edge of the box went just wide of the left hand post.
Waves were looking to play a fast paced passing game, but could not get their dangerous front players into the game enough in the first half. Cork were busy in midfield and enjoyed lots of possession, led by the impressive and highly influential Becky Casson. Despite this it remained goalless at the break.
Cork’s Sophie Liston had a golden opportunity to put her side ahead early in the second half but she missed when it looked easier to score. Just before the hour mark, Liston found Sarah McKevitt who was not closed down and fired in a shot from the ‘D’ which crashed off the bar.
On the hour mark, DLR had their first real chance of the second period when Shauna Carroll hit a long range effort and forced a great save from Cork keeper Abby McCarthy.
As the game entered the final stages, it looked as if Cork might leave Dublin with a deserved point, but with two minutes left, an attempted clearance from the visitors fell to Ciara Maher who took a touch and lofted it into the goal from long range for a glorious winner for DLR Waves.
Speaking to Impetus editor Ben Gilby after the game, DLR Waves head coach Graham Kelly said: ” I’m absolutely delighted with the performance and the three points from the game, Our girls were excellent especially in the second half against a very good Cork City team.
“Every time we play Cork it’s always a close and very entertaining game of football. Huge credit to Paul Farrell and his Cork City team for what was a terrific match and they have shown in recent weeks that they will take points from teams and start climbing the table.
“For us it’s another big three points as we now prepare for another major test next week with the visit of Shelbourne to UCD Bowl.”
FT DLR Waves 1-0 Cork City
Off the back of a late minute defeat to title-race opponents Shelbourne, Peamount United will have gone into their game at home to Bohemians with focus on nothing but securing the three points and that they did.
Captain Áine O’Gorman headed their opening goal home shortly before the half time break and grabbed her second in the late stages of the game to claim a convincing 2-0 win over the Bohs which pushed them one spot down the table. The visitors fought well, but the clinical campaign of Peas marches on and they were able to maintain a clean sheet.
FT Peamount United 2-0 Bohemians
Absolutely no doubt that Ellen Molloy was running the show for WexfordYouths in their encounter at Athlone Town, netting twice with an absolute peach of a free-kick for the second shot. In addition, there was a stunning strike from Ciara Rossiter. Katelyn Keogh made sure it wasn’t all fun in the Wexford camp as she pulled one back for Athlone Town. A closely contested game, but ultimately Wexford looked the stronger side and the score line reflects that.
A surprise to some, Della Doherty also joined Wexford from Peamount United this week.
FT Athlone Town WFC 1-3 Wexford Youths
Galway looked to have all the prowess in their busy fixture at Treaty United, as Lynsey McKey put the away side 1-0 up from a strike, followed by a Meabh de Burca penalty conversion in the second half of the game. Treaty seemed to struggle to find their rhythm in the game, however not all was lost as Gillian Keenan and Jenna Slattery slotted one home each to share a point each with Galway. It’s evident Galway are still looking to find their feet under new management.
FT Treaty United 2-2 Galway
Saturday 17th July
Cork City v Athlone Town (14:00)
Galway v Wexford Youths (14:00)
Peamount United v Treaty United (16:00)
DLR Waves v Shelbourne (16:00)
Abi Ticehurst rounds up all of the action as the top two went head to head in the latest round of FAI Women’s National League action and the rest of the league concentrated on closing the gap (7/7/21).
In the Spotlight: Shels on top in seven goal thriller
Crowds were allowed back in for the first time since the league kicked off and the 300 who turned up for the battle of the top two were not disappointed. Both sides headed in the game level on points, but Peamount United had the upper hand having played one game less. Shelbourne looked to build on their previous performance with the same starting XI as the previous five whilst Peamount kicked off their return with this game and sought to blow away the cobwebs of the mid-season break.
Barely 30 seconds from the whistle and Emily Whelan was in with a chance but could not to get the ball quite under the right control in order to put Shelbourne in front. Moments later and a looping free kick from Jessie Stapleton was able to find the head of Saoirse Noonan and the Shels were 1-0 up.
The Peamount defence looked unsettled for much of the first half with panic passes played. Their first real attempt was a ball struck into the bottom corner but it lacked pace and was easily collected by Amanda Budden. Some slick passing up field by Shelbourne saw the ball land with Ziu who was able to turn Peamount which opened up space for Noonan and the home side were 2-0 up inside 15 minutes. The Peas continued to struggle with the rhythm of the game, losing possession in easy build up points and from set pieces. They seemed to find form towards the end of the half as Sadhbh Doyle caught the crossbar, however Jess Gargan was able to clear. Just ten minutes before the break, a Peamount penalty was converted into the bottom right corner by an assured Doyle. 2-1 going into the break.
Pace certainly picked up from the whistle and a feisty second half ensued. A Noelle Murray free kick found Jamie Finn but to no avail, but little time was wasted before a previously limping Whelan fizzed a ball across the box and it smashed in the back of the net. Worldie. 3-1 to Shelbourne.
Noonan was able to run amok in midfield, cut inside the box and shot from a tight angle before she was denied by a Peamount block. Peas followed up on the attack and Gorman noticed Budden off her line and lobbed her to make it 3-2.
A pacey final 10 minutes saw Shels denied a penalty, which was a very questionable decision by the referee indeed. One minute into stoppage time at the end of the game and Karen Duggan dramatically equalised for Peamount in what was assumed to be the last goal of the game, however in true Murray style, she was able to latch on the end of a long ball and secure the three points for Shelbourne in the final moments, all whilst manager Noel King had been sent to the stands by the referee. What a game.
Noonan has seen a fair amount of pressure in front of goal having made the step up from Cork City, but she didn’t disappoint in this game. Honourable mentions to Budden who had a sterling game to deny Peamount scoring more goals. She now has eight clean sheets to her name so far this season. Sadhbh Doyle the standout for Peamount.
FT Shelbourne 4-3 Peamount United
A huge result for Cork City who secured their first win of the season and moved up the table from the bottom spot as a result. Captain Becky Cassin capitalised on an off-guard Bohemians as a free-kick swung in. No let up for Bohemians as they face Peamount next.
A smart passing game played by DLR Waves ensured that they would secure the win away from home at Galway. Shauna Fox with the first of DLR’s goals. Katie Malone followed suit and secured the second from inside the six yard box. An impressive performance up top for Impetus’ own Carla McManus once again, she’ll be keen to be back on the scoresheet for the Waves when they play Cork City at home. A debut appearance between the sticks for Galway’s Leah Hayes-Cohen and she’ll no doubt want to keep building on that experience.
FT Galway WFC 0-2 DLR Waves
Deadlock for the first 65 minutes in the tightly fought contest, Sinead Taylor was able to put that right for WexfordYouths. A point a piece looked likely when Gillian Keenan nabbed one for Treaty United, however Aoibheann Clancy snuck a late goal for Wexford to clinch the victory.
FT Wexford Youths 2-1 Treaty United
Saturday 10th July:
DLR Waves v Cork City (4pm)
Peamount United v Bohemians (4pm)
Athlone Town v Wexford Youths (7pm)
Sunday 11th July:
Treaty United v Galway (2pm)
Abi Ticehurst rounds up all of the action as the FAI Women’s National League returned from its early summer break (29/6/21).
In the Spotlight: Wexford open up the gap in the race for top three
A game with plenty of action from both sides, Wexford Youths looked to settle much quicker than DLR Waves as they dominated the first fifteen, however it was evident that both teams were getting back into the rhythm of play after the pause at the end of the first part of the campaign.
A soaring set piece looked initially like it was on course to go over, but it dipped just in the right fashion for Lynn Marie Grant and she headed home to put Youths 1-0 up. Half time and Waves looked considerably more comfortable as the second forty-five kicked off. Niamh Barnes really showed her strength against a pacey Blessing Kingsley to deny her multiple chances down the right wing.
An opportunity then fell for Aoife Brophy as she fizzed one into the box, for Impetus’ very own Carla McManus just unable to connect to put DLR on the score sheet. The final twenty minutes proved fairly intense with no more than two to three passes for either side before possession switched.
However, another corner was swung in and Orlaith Conlon was on the end of it to make it 2-0 to Youths. A handball in the box by Nicola Sinnott meant Carla McManus was able to notch another on her record for DLR (pictured) to make it six in eight games and deny Wexford the clean sheet, as she coolly slotted one home from the spot after.
Just moments later, Youths counter-attack was explosive and Ellen Molloy’s shot took an unfortunate deflection off Niamh Barnes to make it three for Wexford. A final DLR attempt as McManus attempted to hook a goal in but was unable to get any real power on it as the ball swung in too high.
Aoibheann Clancy was the standout player, for me, during the game, she was able to utilise all the difficult gaps to push the offense forward for Wexford whilst putting in important and well timed tackles, as well as making accurate and effortless turns on the ball. Honourable mentions for both keepers, Ciamh Dollard and Eve Badana, as they did sterling jobs to shot-stop chances from both sides as the strikers and Jess Gleeson who looked dangerous in the air at every opportunity.
FT Wexford Youths 3-1 DLR Waves
Mid-table match up ends in draw
Galway continue a positive re-start under new boss Stephen Lally with a draw against Bohemians. Lally was appointed just over a month ago. A former Galway United player, he replaced Billy Cleary who stepped down at the end of May. A Sinead Donovan goal put Galway 1-0 up to maintain the lead for much of the game. However an 86th minute free-kick from midfielder Chloe Darby was to spoil the fun and secure a point for Bohemians. The pair sit sixth and fifth in the table respectively.
FT Bohemians 1-1 Galway
Sensational Murray strike puts Shels joint top
In classic Noelle Murray fashion, a long range attempt from the striker put Shelbourne 1-0 up. Murray took a chance from 30 yards out and was able to lob Abby McCarthy and all in front of a home crowd for the first time this season. A stealthy performance by Becky Cassin and Éabha O’Mahony in midfield for Cork, but not enough to pick up points to take them off the bottom spot in the table. The result hots things up at the top, as the Shels go level on points with league leaders Peamount United.
FT Shelbourne 1-0 Cork City
Cronin does the double in a draw
A busy, feisty game between Treaty United and Athlone Town saw them both take a point at Jackman Park with Aoife Cronin hitting the back of the net twice for Treaty, which put the forward joint top scorer with fellow namesake Aoife Horgan, both with 4 each. Katelyn Keogh nabbed Athlone’s first just before the break with Melissa O’Kane getting in on the act. Athlone held on for twenty minutes but Cronin secured the brace to make it 2-2 in the 82nd minute. Athlone remain in 8th whilst Treaty are in lucky 7th.
FT Treaty United 2-2 Athlone Town
Saturday 3rd July
Shelbourne v Peamount United (14:00)
Cork City v Bohemians (14:00)
Galway v DLR Waves (16:00)
Wexford Youths v Treaty United (18:30)
Abi Ticehurst will be rounding-up all the action from the FAI Women’s National League every Wednesday from next week.
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 (27/6/21).
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.
Impetus are exceptionally proud to announce our sponsorship of Carla McManus, the twenty year-old DLR Waves striker who is a Republic of Ireland U16, U17 and U19 international. Ben Gilby spoke to Carla about her footballing journey so far and how she is coming back from the bitter blow of injury which prevented her from taking up a scholarship offer from a US college (26/6/21).
Carla (pictured above by Peter Minogue Photography), is one of the brightest young stars in the FAI WNL, but association football was not the only round ball sport that she has played.
“I started off playing GAA (Gaelic sports) from a young age in my local area, I took to the sport straight away. I played football with my cousin and other boys too. I would say I was about eight or nine years-old at this stage. When playing with my cousin I would be doing the shooting and he would be in goal, he went on to be a keeper in later years and myself a striker.
“The next move was to start with a football team, I joined a boys’ underage team first, maybe U12s. I played for Ballinahown FC and from this got picked for the local academy, the Athlone District Schoolsboys/girls league (ADSL). Myself and another girl, were the only two girls on this boys’ academy team. With the ADSL we went to the Welsh International Super Cup in Wales in 2012. This was one of my best football memories from my youth, in the cup final I stepped up to take the first penalty, surrounded by two teams, on my own and the opposition of mainly boys, and I scored the penalty in front of a big crowd.
“Since then I think I always wanted to feel a feeling like on that day and that’s what keeps me focused and motivated on my goals. Shortly after this, I had to move from the boys’ team to a local girls’ team. The competition wasn’t great but I was getting to play and scoring seven or eight goals a game with Bealnamulla FC.
“From here, I got picked to represent the Midlands in the Gaynor Cup in 2015, this was U16s for me when I was 14/15. At this tournament, all the counties of Ireland compete. Here I got scouted for the Ireland U16 squad and from then on in I was called into every underage Ireland camp except for one or two due to injury or personal reasons. So I played u16s, 17s and 19s internationally.
“I played with the U16s and scored two goals in the first tournament with them in Hungary, I then played U17s and went to the Euros, the qualifiers, elite rounds and then the finals too which was an unbelievable experience. I was top goal scorer in the group for qualifiers with five goals in three games, a hat trick in the first one after coming on at half time.
“I then played two years at U19s for the Republic of Ireland. The first year I scored two goals in the qualifying rounds which were held in the Netherlands. In my second year I scored one goal in the qualifiers and then another one in the elite round. I have scored a total of 11 competitive goals for Ireland at underage, then just loads of friendlies of course.”
Carla outlined some of her most memorable moments in a Republic of Ireland shirt so far.
“My best international memories would have to include my first goal for Ireland in Hungary at U16 level. My Mam and Aunty were there and it was probably the best feeling in the world, of course my mother was a ball of emotions that evening and the tears were flowing.
“The other experience that sticks out was my hat trick for Ireland U17s in Cork. Not only was it a home Euros match but I had come on at half time and I wanted to prove a point, I think I managed to make my mark in front of my friends and family in the crowd, there is no feeling quite like it. Football is the thing that means the most to me in the world, I spend most of my days thinking about how I can positively impact myself as a player whether it be going to the gym or working on things by myself or recovery from a hard session making sure my muscles are ready to go again.
“So making it to play for Ireland, playing internationally probably being the greatest thing for any player, and putting on that green shirt means even more when I put in the work, it all pays off when success comes and I am grateful for all success I have had and hopefully will have in the future.”
We then turned to the club game and Carla’s experiences in the top tier of Irish women’s club football, the FAI WNL.
“Club wise I played for Peamount United underage for roughly two seasons and played half a season with Peamount in the FAI WNL but I was 17 and unfortunately wasn’t getting enough game time, so I had to be included in the Irish set up. I moved to Kilkenny United whilst doing my leaving certificate as it suited me and I was getting game time at Women’s National League level.”
Just as Carla was hitting her straps in the FAI WNL, disaster struck – one which was to have far reaching consequences.
“Unfortunately, I suffered an ACL injury halfway into my second season with Kilkenny in May 2019. I had surgery in August 2019, two days before my birthday. The injury happened two months before I was meant to go on a scholarship to Seton Hall University in New Jersey. I came back from injury 17 months after, 15 months post op, signing for DLR Waves in August playing my first game at the end of October 2020.
Signing for Waves was the best decision I could have made and I am loving every minute there at the minute. I could not have wished for better comeback from injury.”
Carla is aware that her far reaching achievements at such a young age are down to the influence from some quality coaches and managers as well as a fantastic support network from her own family.
“I think for me I’ve had some great managers along the way such as Sharon Boyle, Dave Bell, Dave Connell being international managers, club managers such as Yvonne Lennon, Gerry Doyle from Bealnamulla, Shay Martin , Toney Maher from Peamount underage and from the WNL, Shane Murray at Kilkenny United. And now of course Graham Kelly and John Sullivan from DLR Waves.
“All of these managers impacted myself as a person and player over the years. They thought me to be coachable, open to learning and always wanting to acquire information and new skills to become a better playing. They taught me that sacrifice and hard work is needed on and off the pitch and to be successful I need to apply myself to the best of my ability. Each thought me to take criticism on the chin but also to be able to critically analyse my own performance and see where I could improve. The Irish set up gave me the tools to deal with more big stage games and more pressure, also thought me how to prepare right and recover right, the importance of looking after your body off the pitch and how it can impact the game. Obviously the doctors and physios I have met along the way had endless information and I think they influenced me hugely, taking into consideration what they thought us to this day, and still learning.
“At the minute I have a great support system at Waves with the management team and my teammates, sometimes I can be hard on myself because my first full game was at the start of this season against Wexford since coming back from injury, still getting back into it and they remind me how far I have come and to be patient with myself.
“DLR Waves are having a huge influence on me as a player at the minute as the standards are so high that I am challenged to be better and better every week to ensure I am playing, the competitive atmosphere is paired with a comforting one with a buzz around the squad and everyone rooting for each other, even with the competition for places.
“My parents are always supportive and encouraging of my football and training. My mam brings me to a lot of my training, matches and the gym. She loves watching me play. Both she, my dad and brother always remind me how proud they are of me, which pushes me on even more because I want to make them proud of me of course.”
I then asked Carla how she would describe herself as a player to someone who hadn’t seen her play.
“I always find this a tough question, I don’t really like to toot my own horn. But to answer that question, I think I am strong. I work hard off the pitch on my strength which leaves me powerful and pacey on the pitch. I am quite fast and that’s paired with my attacking mind-set. I am very direct and have one thing in mind when I get the ball and that is to create goal scoring opportunities for myself and my teammates. I don’t think there is any better feeling then scoring.
“I am a goal scorer, I love scoring. On the pitch I try be vocal despite my teammates saying I don’t speak very loud, I try give information to the girls around me, communication is so important on the pitch. I have improved on my link up play since coming to waves and my movement is getting better.
“Finally, I think I am a hard worker and I would run until I dropped for my team, whether it be pressing, defending from the top or making runs behind the defence while attacking. I am always open to learn and take any constructive criticism to make myself a better player.”
With the first chinks of light appearing at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, Carla outlined how the last sixteen months or so have impacted her.
“I think the pandemic actually gave me the time to work on myself, mentally and physically. I got to know myself and got more comfortable by myself independence being an important thing, not depending on others for gratification and having happiness with your own company. I think it thought me that spending time looking after your mind away from other people is important and not being dependent on others opinions to be happy, not looking for reassurance for my actions. I now feel completely comfortable working on myself for myself.
“It also gave me time to work on my knee rehab from March in 2020 until August and going in to join DLR Waves, there were pros and cons. The cons being that I was by myself a lot doing my recovery and could have done with a bit more guidance and observation from physios. It’s hard to know if what you are doing is right when you are on yourself. There is this uncertainty that’s hard to shake when you do not have anybody to turn to in person to look at it and give feedback.
“I think it helped me to become stronger mentally and physically going through this tedious and long recovery. It is hard to put into words just how grateful I am to be able to step on a pitch again and kick a ball, when I could not even do that for so long, it made me realise how much football actually is to me and how badly I want to play it for as long as I can and as much as I can. This mentality I have now makes me more aware to prepare right, recover right and play my heart out like every game is my last.
“I did not find the pandemic as hard as some of the other people around me, it was difficult not seeing my friends and not being able to do the things I would normally do, but I learnt to adapt and do other things to improve myself.”
With Carla being a first team regular at DLR Waves this season, I asked her to give us an idea about what life is like at the club.
“Since coming into the club and working to get back from injury I have had nothing but support and encouragement from everybody there. The energy around the team is amazing from coaches to players to the physio team and it’s just a great group working tirelessly towards the same goal.
“The intensity of the training and effort from every single person involved is unmatched and that is why I think we will go places as a team. We are a young team and the group hasn’t been together that long so we are still developing and gelling finding the right combinations. I think we have the potential to compete for the top spot in the league and cup over this season and the ones to follow.
“We have great strength and conditioning input from John Sullivan who has his own gym and was also a footballer in the men’s national league, so his experience and knowledge is very valuable to us. He got us through pre-season and got us strong and fit with zoom workouts and runs, which were very tough but we are benefiting from his blood, sweat and tears mentality.
“For myself I love training and would train and workout everyday if I could so it suits me to a T at Waves where that work ethic is nurtured and can thrive. It is exciting to be supported in the training we do collectively and individually, we are all rooting for one another and I have massive respect for this environment.
“I believe we can push on now and start really challenging to be the best. During matches, you’ll never see anyone give up and if somebody is having a bad day, their teammates are there to push them on, we also have unbelievable depth in the squad and any substitute that comes in can make an impact, we use the term game changers instead of subs.”
With this weekend heralding the beginning of the second of the three phases of the FAI WNL season, Carla looked back at how the campaign has gone so far.
“I think the season is going relatively well for us so far, considering we know we haven’t been playing our best football when it comes to game day, we have more to show. We’re in fourth place, nine points behind the leaders Peamount United. However, we are still working and getting the results for the most part, some games have been a little disappointing for example the Shelbourne game we did not show up in the first half but came out and in a big performance in the second half and we were unlucky not to come away with a draw at least.
“I think the second half in the Shelbourne game and how we played just shows we can compete with the top teams because I believe we are a top team. We just need to start bringing our game to the opposition from the first minute of every game and keep pushing on getting points on the board.
“For myself I am enjoying every minute with DLR Waves. I am challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone which I think is exactly what I need. I picked up a knock at the end of the first game against Wexford but also scored my first goal of the season. I missed the cork and Galway games with that ankle sprain but I am back now fully recovered and worked my way back into the starting eleven.
“I am happy to be playing and getting good game time too. I have scored a few goals in the first half of the season but I still think I have more to give and I am growing in fitness and confidence each week, improving with each week of training and games, which is exciting, and I am really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
With the FAI WNL season progressing through the summer until November, Carla outlined her aims for the remainder of the campaign.
“Personally, I want to play well and perform consistently in every game, and of course score as many goals as I can.
“The main thing I aim to do in every game is work as hard as I can because that is the base for a good performance and from there, I think you get your rewards, there’s no excuses for not giving maximum effort in every game in my eyes. I will do the simple things right and be involved in attacks creating opportunities to score goals.
“I would also like to stay fit and injury free for the rest of the season so I will aim to recover right and prepare the best I can for the remainder of the season. I would also like to continue to enjoy playing my football as that is one of the most important aspects too and can help you play better too.”
Finally, we turned back to Carla’s international career and her hopes of being selected for Vera Pauw’s senior Republic of Ireland team.
“I would love to get a call up to the senior Ireland team, but one thing I have learnt though is to not depend on this too much. I feel that this is not the be all and end all and doesn’t depict how good of a player you are or how you should value yourself as a player.
“I will work and play as well as I can regardless of whether Vera Pauw decides to call me in or not, I think it is important to know your worth as a player and know how to recognise if you are performing well or not, not just depending on that call up. I believe that way it will happen for you once you focus on your game and being the best you can possibly be and be happy doing that.
“I think I work hard in the gym and on the training ground and that I will get there in the end if I continue applying myself. Football is my priority and I spend majority of my time training and thinking about how I can be better and improve. If I get the call up I will be delighted and if I do not I won’t drop my head and it won’t change my approach or attitude towards my game.”
Impetus’ coverage of the FAI WNL sees weekly round-ups of matches, plus features with clubs and players. Every FAI WNL match is available to watch free both live and on demand at https://www.loitv.ie/en-int/page/wnl We’ll be catching up with Carla regularly throughout the season.
Ben Gilby spoke to DLR Waves head coach Graham Kelly about the FAI Women’s National League side who have come a long way and are highly ambitious to grow further (3/6/21).
Graham Kelly has been at DLR Waves for three years and, from the outset, was very clear about what he wanted to achieve.
Upon arrival at the club who are named after the Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown county they are based in which is part of the Dublin region, Kelly discussed a five year plan with the club chairman.
“We have big ambitious and in the last three years the club has grown massively from just one senior team to now having a senior team, an U19 Team and an U17 team all playing in the Women’s National League (WNL). We also wanted to ensure we had football for any girl who came to the club who might not be ready just yet to go and play in the WNL so with this in mind we created two new teams in the Metropolitan Girls League at U16 & U18 level so in the space of two full season’s the club has grown from one team to five which is fantastic for all female footballers in the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown region and surrounding areas
“Alongside this we are now this year running summer camps and afterschool coaching programmes in local schools to help promote DLR Waves in the community.”
This growth has been all the more impressive with it taking place amidst a global pandemic. “As a club we kept connected with all our player’s and coaching staff through Zoom meetings and home workouts for the players, It was a really tough time for people but in DLR we always say it’s so important that it’s the person comes first before the player.”
With light now at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, Kelly is focused on trying to meet some of the other challenges that DLR Waves face.
“Our five teams are now up and running and all back training and our continued partnership with University College, Dublin (UCD) is growing from strength to strength. As with nearly every club in the country, the biggest challenge is always securing training facilities which again UCD and DLR have been tremendous in helping us with, We are very grateful for their continued support.”
The FAI Women’s National League season is now well underway for 2021 and Graham is keen to ensure the club’s standing in the competition continues to improve.
“The league this season is definitely shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent years. It’s brilliant to see all the clubs continue to develop and every game is really competitive. From our point of view our aim as a team is to try break into the top four. The last two seasons that I have been here we finished sixth so if we can break into that top four this season that would be a big step forward in our development.
“In terms of the FAI WNL itself, it is made up of nine clubs, Peamount United, Shelbourne, Wexford Youths, Galway WFC, Bohemians, Cork City, Athlone Town, Treaty United and ourselves,” explained Graham.”
“All the players that play for the clubs are amateurs and many are still in school, college or full time employment. In the time I have been involved in the league I have seen massive improvements and in fairness to all the clubs they have all worked really hard for this, Also playing in the league are be a number of Republic of Ireland international players which is great for publicity of the league.
“This season the FAI agreed to stream every game live on www.loitv.ie free of charge which again is fantastic promotion of the league and everyone gets to see the real quality playing here in Ireland.
Despite DLR Waves having five teams of their own, they have put in place an exciting relationship with local clubs to develop a player pathway scheme.
“We have nine partner clubs and when each of these clubs have players that finish at U14/15 level they then have an opportunity to come into our pathway through our U16 MGL team. At present we have around 100 players in the club throughout our five teams.”
As with every club, DLR Waves can only function successfully through a magnificent team of volunteers as Graham highlights:
“We have so many people here from the management committee, U16, U17, U18 coaches right up to all the first team staff that do so much work it’s fantastic and I am forever grateful for all their help. But I have to say without doubt our unsung hero is John Hartigan who is our kit man with the first team but is so much more than a kit man, We are very lucky to have John and we really do appreciate everything he does for us.”
We ended our chat by looking at the growth of women’s football more generally in the Republic of Ireland.
“I think the women’s game in Ireland is growing from strength to strength, The introduction of the new U19 league this season is massive progress as we were losing a lot of players from the game when they finished playing U17 as some may just not have been ready to make the step up to 1st team level, This new U19 league and the continued progression of the U17 league is key to player development, As a league overall we can continue to improve and hopefully as the standard keeps improving we can all help to develop more players for Vera Pauw’s senior international squad and we see Republic of Ireland qualify for the next World Cup.”
Don’t miss Impetus’ regular round-up of all the action from the FAI Women’s National League brought to us by Ciarán Duffy of Post to Post Sport. Check out our specific Irish Women’s Football section at https://impetus885775742.wordpress.com/irish-football/ for all the details!
Ciarán Duffy of Post to Post Sport brings us bang up to date with all the goings on in the FAI WNL over the past month (1/6/21).
Peamount maintained their 100% record over the last three rounds to remain top of the league. They beat Cork City in round seven. Eleanor Ryan-Doyle opened the scoring and put Peas back in front after Cork had equalised. Aine O’Gorman scored late on to secure the victory.
In round eight, Peamount became the first team to beat DLR Waves at the UCD Bowl. Eleanor Ryan-Doyle scored twice, a diving header in the first half, and a penalty in the 2nd half.
In round nine Peamount beat Galway 4-0. Ryan-Doyle scored 2 more goas, with Walsh and Doherty adding goals.
Shels remain Peamounts closest challengers. In round seven they beat Galway 5-0, with goals from Ziu, Finn, Grant, Noonan, and Murray. Shels went to Dalymount Park the following week, when Whelan scored the winner to beat Bohemians. Shelbourne played out a 0-0 draw with Wexford Youths in round nine.
Wexford were victorious in round seven with a 7-1 win over Bohemians. Two goals from captain Kylie Murphy opened the scoring, with goals from Frawley, and OG, and Flood making it 5-0. Kelly added two late goals. Youths were idle in round eight and played out a 0-0 draw against Shels in round nine.
DLR continue to have one of their best ever seasons. Carla McManus scored the winner in a 1-0 win at Athlone in round seven. They were beaten 2-0 by Peamount United in round eight before recording their biggest win of the season the following week by beating Treaty United 5-0 in Limerick, with goals from Maher, Malone, Carroll, and two goals from McManus.
We have a dedicated page for all our DLR Waves content, including reaction to their home games, match reports, fixture information, and more. You can view it on PostToPost.Sport.Blog here.
Bohs were beaten in rounds seven and eight by two of the top three. They lost 7-1 to Wexford, with Burke getting their goal. They were beaten 0-1 at home to Shels the following week. Then, last time out, they earned a thrilling 3-2 win away to Athlone. Burke scored their equaliser and put them in front. Their winner came from Darby.
Galway were beaten 5-0 by Shelbourne in round seven. Their manager Billy Clery stepped down early in the following week due to family commitments. They were narrowly beaten 4-3 under interim manager Maz Sweeney, with their goals coming from Callanan and two from McKey. Stephen Lally was appointed new head coach the following week. His first game in charge ended with a 4-0 defeat by Peamount.
After a 0-1 loss at home to DLR Waves, Athlone beat Galway 4-3 with goals from Keogh, two from Devaney, and a goal from Brennan. They were victorious despite going down to 10 with Haran sent off. They lost out 2-3 to Bohs, with their goals coming from Keogh and Molloy.
Treaty were idle in round seven. They then got their first win of the season a vital one in a battle of the teams at the bottom – beating Cork City 3-2 with two goals from Rebecca Horgan and a goal from Keenan. Treaty were beaten 5-0 by DLR Waves in round nine.
Cork remain without a win after phase one has been completed. They lost to Peamount United 3-1, despite Mangan’s goal. They then lost out narrowly to Treaty 3-2 in the big clash of the bottom sides with McKevitt and Cassin getting their goals. They were idle for round nine.
Next Round’s Fixtures
Saturday 5th June
Cork City v Galway (K/O 14:00)
Peamount United v Wexford Youths (16:00)
Shelbourne v Athlone Town (19:00)
Sunday 6th June
Treaty United v Bohemians (14:00)
By Ciarán Duffy of Post to Post Sport (7/5/21).
Peamount United top the league with four wins from four and have a game in hand over second placed Wexford Youths.
In Round Four they beat Bohemians with three second half goals, scored by Ruddy, Ryan-Doyle, and Watkins. Last weekend, again they had to wait until the second half to open the scoring. Goals from last season top scorers Ryan-Doyle (2) and Ireland centurion Aine O’Gorman sealed the win. Peas are firm favourites to win a third consecutive league title, having only lost four competitive games in the last 3 seasons, only 2 of which were in the league.
Round 4: W 0-3 Bohemians (A)
Round 5: W 0-3 Treaty United (A)
Wexford Youths sit second in the table, two points behind Peamount United having played a game more. Their last two games featured red cards, with their round four opponents Athlone going down to 9 women. Wexford needed an 80th minute penalty from Kylie Murphy to get a 1-0 win, their second win of the season. Wexford would get another win the following week against Galway. They were comprehensive 5-0 winners against the 10-woman Westeners, with an own-goal, and strikes from Marie Grant, Taylor, Molloy, and Frawley. Wexford are top scorers in the league this season having scored 14 goals.
Round 4: W 1-0 Athlone Town (H)
Round 5: W 5-0 Galway (H)
Shelbourne were idle during round four but got back to winning ways at home to DLR Waves last weekend. Shels took the lead through Whelan in the first half. Murray scored a penalty just before the hour-mark. Shels survived a late fight back to win the game 2-1.
Round 4: idle
Round 5: W 2-1 DLR Waves (H)
DLR remain in the top four despite suffering their first defeat of the season. In Round Four, they beat Cork City to get their first away win of the season. Jess Gleeson scored a fantastic goal in the first half to seal the win. Waves lost narrowly to Shelbourne last time out despite a magnificent consolation goal from Carla McManus.
Round 4: W 0-1 Cork City (A)
Round 5: L 2-1 Shelbourne (A)
Galway had two rounds of varying fortune with a comprehensive win as well as a heavy defeat. In Round Four, they got back to winning ways with a 4-1 win over Treaty United. Their goals came in the first half with goals from McKey, McCarthy, Brennan, and Kearns. Their luck was out last weekend when they lost 5-0 to Wexford and had Kinnevey sent off. Galway sit 5th in the table.
Round 4: W 4-1 Treaty United (H)
Round 5: L 5-0 Wexford Youths (A)
Bohs put up a good fight against Peamount in Round Four but were ultimately beaten 0-3 with all goals coming in the second half. They had the bye last time out.
Round 4: L 0-3 Peamount United (H)
Round 5: idle
Cork’s stuttering start to the league continued. They were beaten 0-1 by DLR Waves in Round Four. The following weekend, they controversially were drew 2-2 with Athlone. Cork twice took the lead with goals from Cassin in the second minute and Dring just after the hour mark. However they conceded a goal from a contentious freekick and were denied what looked like a penalty.
Round 4: L 0-1 DLR Waves (H)
Round 5: D 2-2 Athlone Town (A)
Athlone were narrowly beaten by Wexford Youths. They held up well despite going down to nine women, however they were undone by a late penalty. Last weekend, they drew 2-2 against Cork, twice coming from behind.
Round 4: L 1-0 Wexford Youths (A)
Round 5: D 2-2 Cork City (H)
Treaty United remain bottom of the table. They were beaten 4-1 by Galway in Round Four, with a late consolation goal from Walsh in the second half. They held up well at home to Peamount United in the first half but ultimately were beaten 0-3.
Round 4: 4-1 Galway (A)
Round 5: 0-3 Peamount United (H)
Round 6 Fixtures
Cork City – Wexford Youths (14:00)
DLR Waves – Bohemians (18:00)
Peamount United – Athlone (18:00)
Treaty United – Shels (14:00)
This week Post to Post Sport had three episodes of Peil and Back, including one focused on the Women’s National League. You can listen on most platforms including Spotify by searching Post to Post Sport, or click here.
Ciarán Duffy of Post to Post Sport rounds-up all the goings on in Week Three of the Irish Women’s National League, which saw reigning champions Peamount United facing an early season top of the table challenge from Shelbourne and Wexford Youth’s teen star Ellen Malloy hitting four goals (22/4/21).
Champions Beat Another Challenger
Peamount United have played two games this season. They’ve both been against likely title contenders and they have both resulted in wins for Peas, who are looking to win their third consecutive league title.
Two of last season’s top goal-scorers, Eleanor Ryan-Doyle and Aine O’Gorman scored to secure the victory for Peamount against their Dublin rivals, who have finished as runners-up in both of the last two seasons.
The game started at a fast pace and continued that way as both teams had chances. Shels had the better of the opening exchanges, before Peamount started to threaten down both wings. After 25 minutes, Ryan-Doyle got on the end of O’Gorman’s cross to turn the ball in. They had a chance to double their lead five minutes later from the penalty spot, but Shels keeper Amanda Budden made the save. Peamount would get their second with a volley from Aine O’Gorman.
The second half started the same as the first with Shels having the majority of the ball. 75 minutes in Ciara Grant turned the ball home to get one back. Shels were unable to find an equalizer, they remain top of the table on goal difference having played one game more than Peamount.
FT Peamount United 2-1 Shelbourne
Molloy Masterclass Helps Wexford To Big Win
Ireland’s teenage sensation Ellen Molloy scored four goals as 2018 champions Wexford Youths got their first win of the season, against bottom side Treaty United.
Treaty tried to play out from the back, but were caught out early on when Ciara Rossiter took advantage of a loose pass. Despite Wexford having all the momentum, the Limerick side did equalize six minutes later through Aoife Horgan. The sides remained level until just after the half hour mark when Sinead Taylor beat a defender and volleyed home. Molloy got her first of the game just before halftime when once again Treaty tried to play out from the back.
The second half was only just over a minute old when Wexford scored their fourth, a penalty by captain Kylie Murphy. The rest of the game saw Wexford in control. Molloy scored three goals in an eight minute spell late in the half. The young star earned an international call-up with her form last season, and will surely become a household name for the Irish senior team.
FT Treaty United 1-7 Wexford Youths
Bohs and Cork Hit Six To Share Spoils
Goal fests are become a trend for games involving Bohs, all their games so far have involved at least four goals.
It took just four minutes for the first goal when Erica Burke scored from close range give Bohs the lead. Cork would equalize in the 25th minute, then take the lead 6 minutes later, with both goals coming from Lauren Egbuloniu.
In the 2nd half Aoife Robinson equalized for Bohs only for Laura Shine to put Cork back in front straight away. Chloe Darby scored from the spot to ensure Bohs took a point from the game.
FT Bohemians 3-3 Cork City
Impressive Waves Gain First Win Of The Season
DLR Waves beat Galway 2-1 in a hard-fought arm wrestle of a contest.
The opening exchanges were cagey with no clear cut chances. However, 16 minutes in a spectacular ball by Jess Gleeson found the head of Kate Mooney who powerfully headed the ball home. DLR frustrated Galway for the remainder of the half and limited their opportunities.
The second half was a back and forth affair. Galway would equalize with a header from Rachel Kearns who got on the end of a freekick with 12 minutes to go.
It could have been a case of heads going down but the Waves pushed on. Eventually they found their way through late on when Katie Malone was in the right place at the right time to get the ball in the net. DLR were able to hold out a late Galway push to secure the win.
FT DLR Waves 2-1 Galway
Saturday 24th April
Bohemians v Peamount United (14:00)
Cork City v DLR Waves (14:00)
Galway v Treaty United (16:00)
Wexford Youths v Athlone (18:30)
Ciarán Duffy of Post to Post Sport rounds-up all the goings on in Week Two of the Irish Women’s National League, with Shelbourne heading the early season table and Limerick’s Treaty United involved in another goal fest (7/4/21).
Saoirse Strikes Sends Shels Top
Shelbourne kept their 100% record intact and gained their second clean sheet as they moved top of the Women’s National League. Saoirse Noonan scored twice against her old club at Turners Cross as Noel Kings men secured a comfortable win.
It took just three minutes for Shels to take the lead as Emily Whelan found the net after taking the ball off a defender and shooting home. Just moments earlier, she had a thunder bolt shot cleared away. Shels continued to put Cork under pressure, having most of the possession. They made that tell again at the fifteen minute mark when Noonan scored against her old club. Cork were able to hold out Shels for the rest of the half. The Munster side created a few chances in the second half, but were unable to find the net. They did however limit Shels to a handful of chances. Noonan struck again late on to seal the win for Shelbourne. In two weeks time Shels face Peamount in a game that sees the top two from the past two seasons go head to head. Cork City 0-3 Shelbourne.
Galway Best Bohs To Climb To Second
Despite a good Bohs performance Galway claimed their first win of the season.
Rachel Kearns scored her fourth goal in two games as Galway took control with half hour gone. Kate Slevin scored five minutes later to send Galway into the break in a strong position. Linsey McKey made it 3-0 at the hour mark with a composed finish, shooting into the bottom corner to put her side in firm control. Chloe Darby got one back for Bohs with 20 minutes to go to give them a glimmer of hope. The Gypsies had chances late on to reduce the deficit but couldn’t take them. Chloe Singleton was dismissed for receiving a second yellow late on. Galway 3-1 Bohemians
Resilient Waves Earn Point Against Wexford
A tactically mature performance saw a young DLR Waves side frustrate Wexford Youths and earn a point at the UCD Bowl.
DLR started the game with high intensity and pressed Wexford into mistakes. Carla McManus took advantage of a defensive lapse and won the ball deep in the Youths have and firing into the bottom left corner. Waves disrupted Youths from there making it difficult for them to create much. Wexford had a few chances either side of halftime, but DLR defender Jess Gleeson was outstanding in defence with Eve Badana, who has been called up to the Ireland squad to train, solid in goal. Wexford eventually made their pressure tell, teenage sensation Ellen Molloy found captain Kylie Murphy who scored with one touch. From there Wexford had the better of the chances but Waves had opportunities to grab what would have been a deserved winner. In the end a draw was probably a fair result with both sides showing quality. DLR Waves 1-1 Wexford Youths
Athlone And Treaty Share Spoils In Hectic Thriller
A frantic game saw game saw both Athlone and Treaty secure their first point of the season.
Both sides scored early with Nerney netting for the midlands side before Rebecca Horgan equalized four minutes later. The other Horgan sister put the Limerick side ahead as Aoife scored just three minutes later. There’d be a penalty to cap off a mad 10-minute spell with Donohue converting to put Athlone back on level terms. Rebecca Horgan got her second with nine minutes left in the half to ensure Treaty went in ahead. The second half just had the one goal as Keogh equalized for Athlone. Treaty would find themselves down to ten women for the last twenty minutes as Slattery was shown a second yellow. There have been fifteen goals in Treaty United’s first two games of the season. Athlone Town 3-3 Treaty United
This coming weekend is an international break.
The following weekend the Women’s National League returns.
Saturday 17th April
Bohemians v Cork City (14:00)
DLR Waves v Galway (18:00)
Peamount United v Shelbourne (18:00)
Sunday 18th April
Treaty United v Wexford Youths (14:00)
Post to Post Sport’s domestic football podcast comes out every Thursday covering Women’s National League as well as the League of Ireland. You can get the podcast on most platforms by searching Post to Post Sport or by going to PostToPost.Sport.Blog and clicking latest episodes.
Impetus is delighted to welcome new contributor Ciarán Duffy of Post to Post Sport who will be providing us with a weekly round-up of all the goings on in the Irish Women’s National League. The new season started at the weekend, and here’s a full round-up of the action so far (29/3/21).
Ireland’s top level of domestic senior women’s football kicked off this weekend. Nine teams compete at this level: Athlone Town, Bohemians, Cork City, DLR Waves, Galway, Peamount United, Shelbourne, Treaty United and Wexford Youths. Peamount United are reigning champions having won the league the last two seasons, and completed a league and cup double last season. The winners of the league qualify for the Champions League preliminary round. Four games took place this weekend with DLR Waves being idle for the first round.
Bohs Blow Away Treaty To Top The League
The opening game of the season took place at Dalymount Park, traditional the home of the Bohemians men’s team. In the last meeting between these two sides they produced a goal fest, with Treaty winning 5-4.
It took just seven minutes to get our first goal of the year, Bronagh Kane made good use of her team pressuring an opposition kick-out to put Bohs ahead. It only took 37 seconds for Kane to add another, with Bohs putting the Limerick side under pressure straight from the kick off. 2-0 up, the home side would double their lead in the remainder of the second half, first through a Naima Chemaou volley in a move that started from a throw-in. Then with 8 minutes to go in the first half captain Sophie Watters finished off the back of a freekick. Treaty would get one back before halftime through Aoife Cronin, who got on the end of Rebecca Horgan’s cross. Bohs would lead 4-1 at halftime.
Early in the second half the Bohs defence failed to clear a Treaty corner and Shannon Parbat got another back for Treaty to cut the deficit to two goals. Treaty continued to mount pressure but the introduction of Aoife Robinson at the hour mark gave the home side some energy. She made an immediate impact, winning the ball deepin the Treaty half and finding a teammate, then receiving it back and curling a shot into the top-right corner having been on the field for just over thirty seconds. Robinson would head home another late in the game off a freekick.
FT Bohemians 6-2 Treaty United
Peamount Snatch Victory Late To Begin Title Defence With A Win
An 87th minute wonder-strike ensured Peamount made a winning start to their quest for a 3rd WNL title in a row. In a fixture that tends to be a higher-scoring affair it was a cagey afternoon between two traditional super powers in the league.
Peamount had the first clear cut chance with Megan Smyth-Lynch creating a scoring opportunity for last years top scorer Aine O’Gorman. Wexford were on the back foot, but nearly took the lead with a counter attack, but Niamh Reid-Burke was excellent in the Peamount goal, with the keeper recently having announced her international retirement. Wexford had another opportunity late in the half through Ciara Rossiter, her shot going just wide.
The second half saw chances at a premium with the conditions worsening. The wind was strong, limiting both teams to half chances. There was drama late on as Reid-Burke saved a penalty off Wexford captain Kylie Murphy. Peamount went up the other end two minutes later and Eleanor Ryan-Doyle hit a looping shot which gave the keeper no chance to score what would ultimately be the winner. Peamount were able to hold on to seal the win.
FT Wexford Youths 0-1 Peamount United
Galway & Cork Play Out A 6-Goal Thriller
A frantic first half saw five goals exchanged as Galway and Cork ultimately shared the spoils. Shauna Fox captained Galway for the first time.
Rachel Kearns got a hat-trick in the first half to send Galway in ahead, although Cork made them work for it. Kearns got her first two on the 15th and 22nd minutes to put Galway very much in control. Cork pegged them back with a strike from Ireland underage star Lauren Egbuloniu on the half-hour mark, before Ireland senior international Eabha O’Mahony levelled things up with the game heading towards half time. Kearns struck back immediately to ensure Galway went in 3-2 up.
Slevin missed a penalty for the home side as they looked to stretch their lead. Cork would get a point from the game with a late wonder strike from Becky Cassin. It is well worth checking out this goal on the club Twitter feed – it is astonishing! (1) Cork City FC Women on Twitter: “New season, same Becky Cassin. #CCFC84 https://t.co/IdpajnImaz” / Twitter
FT Galway 3-3 Cork City
Shels Get Title Bid Off To A Winning Start
Shelbourne went to Athlone on Saturday knowing they’d be expected to pick up three points, but also knowing it wouldn’t be easy. The away side had finished runners-up in the previous two league campaigns, coming agonisingly close on both occasions.
Athlone made the Dublin side work for everything, and at half-time it was scoreless. In the 2nd half just passed the hour mark, Pearl Slattery scored from 30 yards to give Shels the lead. Alex Kavanagh would make it 0-2 shortly after. That would be enough for Shelbourne to take all 3 points.
FT Athlone 0-2 Shelbourne
Table After Round 1
Next Weeks Fixtures
Saturday 3rd April
Cork v Shelbourne (14:00)
Galway v Bohemians (14:00)
DLR Waves v Wexford Youths (18:00)
Athlone v Treaty (19:00)
Peamount United: Champions League Heroics & Domestic Double Delight
Hot on the heels of a sensational performance in the qualification stages of the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the club clinching the League and Cup double, Ben Gilby spoke to Elaine Harrington, secretary of Republic of Ireland’s top side Peamount United. 14/1/21
Elaine began our conversation by explaining the history of the club: “We were founded in 1983. The club itself is mostly known for its success with our women’s Teams which was established in 1988. Year on year we have strengthened girls/women’s section and now attract some of the best players to our club. We won the first ever Women’s National League in Ireland, and subsequently became the first ever Irish team, male or female to qualify for the final stages of the UEFA Champions League in the process.”
It is to Peamount United’s Champions League history that we then turned to. “Previously when we played in the Champions League we got through the qualification group finishing as the best runner up. We were then took on Paris St. Germain. Sometimes the fact we are an amateur club can have a strain on our players as they are all either in college or work and find it hard to get time off. This season we had a qualification game against Glasgow City. It was a surprise to us how well we did (Peamount took City to a penalty shoot-out), we worked hard to prepare but the fact the girls all have to return to college / work can put a little strain on them.”
Peamount United’s return to Champions League football a couple of months back came after they won the Women’s National League for the first time in seven years. “For the previous three years we had finished as runners-up so we were getting stronger, but just couldn’t get it over the finish line. Wexford were the champions and we beat them twice. We actually only lost one game all season but Shelbourne pushed us all the way finishing one point behind us in 2019”
That championship win put Peamount United into a UEFA Women’s Champions League 1st Qualifying Round tie, in which they were handed possibly the toughest possible draw – away to last season’s Quarter-Finalists, Glasgow City. Peamount took City to extra-time and then a sudden death penalty shoot-out: “Honest opinion: We were outstanding!” said Elaine.
“I think we were not expecting the result. We never even considered penalties! I think going into a game as the underdogs is a help as you feel you have nothing to lose, we had been playing really well in the previous games and had no injuries so we were hopeful. We were absolutely delighted with the performance of the team, however we were a little disappointed thinking how close we got. We dusted ourselves off as we had a semi-final game against Wexford on the following Sunday, which we won thank God!”
Those Champions League appearances have had long lasting benefits for the Irish side as Elaine explained: “When you have a success like that it can then give you that final push to try and win the league again to get back to Champions League again. It also gives you the opportunity to attract new players in.”
I then asked Elaine to give us the lowdown on the top flight of women’s football in the Republic of Ireland: “The Women’s National League (WNL) was founded in 2011, previously we competed in the DWSL (Dublin Womens Soccer League). The WNL was set up by the FAI to try run things more professionally. This year there are nine teams in it. There is a gap between top and bottom, however the gap is closing as more girls are playing soccer at the moment. It is well supported by UEFA and FAI, but as long as it remains amateur it is hard to grow it. It costs about 50,000 Euros per annum to run a team, and we are always relying on sponsors and asking our players to get a sponsor for themselves. But hopefully it will change in the future. The 20*20 campaign has been a big help to girls’ sports.”
The year 2020 has not just been about an incredible UEFA Women’s Champions League performance – they also secured their return to the competition next season by not just winning the WNL but claiming the FAI Women’s Cup in fine style.
The Women’s National League of Ireland was won by five points from runners-up Shelbourne. Peamount United won eleven of their twelve matches, with just one defeat – 3-0 to Wexford Youths in August. The FAI Cup was won in true style as the club beat Cork City 6-0 at Tallaght Stadium. Stephanie Roche scored two with Aine Marie O’Gorman, Karen Duggan, Rebecca Watkins and Teigan Ruddy on the mark.
All of Peamount United’s fantastic achievements in 2020 have of course come against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. Harrington identified the areas that it had impacted on the club: “The biggest impact is not having spectators at our games. Financially we are better off as we have received COVID payments to the club from our Government to help us out. Apart from that the other major challenge that we have is the fact that the girls have to work or study and still play. The amateur status is the thing we would most like to change, if we could even go semi-professional it would be a big help.”
The club have a fantastic pathway for female football too, which Elaine outlined to me: “We currently have a top girls team at every level from U12. The FAI have brought in an U17 WNL team two years ago, and hopefully next season we will have an U19 WNL team. Our aim is to try and keep them at the club for as long as possible.”
As a totally amateur club, Peamount United rely on a small band of volunteers to keep them up and running. One of the most prominent of this band is Denis Commins who Harrington identifies as being “one of the founder members of the club. He has always ensured that everything is run to benefit the girls in every way possible, he is always going out and looking for sponsorship for girls, along with looking after our facilities, which are top class.”
Elaine Harrington ended by stating what she feels is her strongest wish for the club over the next five years: “I hope to see us go semi-professional. I’m sure if the same people that are involved with it today are still around we will be as good if not better than we are today.”