FAI Continental Tyres Women's National League Previews
Saturday, November 8
Castlebar Celtic v Raheny United, Celtic Park (7.00pm). Referee: Damien McGraith.
CASTLEBAR Celtic host Raheny United looking to build on their impressive 5-1 victory over Cork City Women's FC last weekend while the Pandas travel west buoyed by their FAI Continental Tyres Women's Senior Cup success against UCD Waves.
Champions Raheny will be seeking to turn their minds back to the more routine matters of a tough away league game after all the excitement of clinching a third cup in a row at Aviva Stadium last Sunday.
Aoife Herbert is a doubt for Celtic with flu and Orla Devaney is expected to be fit but Adrian Carberry's side are determined to give the country's marquee side a real test.
"We have to congratulate Raheny on winning the cup once more. They well deserved their win and looked comfortable. They've really set out their stall to take Irish women's football to the next level with their UEFA performances this year," said Carberry.
"We'll be looking to give them a real challenge. We need to pick up points to stay in touch with the leaders. Raheny showed in the final that they can sit in and soak up pressure and have a lot of attacking quality. There's no better test for our girls than facing the best. There are areas where we very good too so we'll look to capitalise on that."
United boss Casey McQuillan continues to operate without Clare Shine but is focusing his side on their bread and butter work of the league now.
"You have to be happy with the result last Sunday. I was particularly happy that a few high profile people had tipped UCD and we went and won anyway," he said.
"We were disciplined enough. Free flowing football wasn't going to be on the agenda as the two sides were so evenly matched. That said, it was high tempo stuff and we probably just shaded it on the day even if the winner was a bit fortunate.
"Playing Castlebar is tough at the best of times. We did object to play on Saturday but we'll get on with it. I saw them against UCD and felt they were better than the result on the day. They're starting to pick up results now and have a wily campaigner in Adrian Carberry as manager so we know it'll be difficult."
Sunday, November 9
Galway WFC v UCD Waves, Eamonn Deacy Park (2.00pm). Referee: Conor Fitzgerald.
GALWAY WFC will host a UCD Waves side who will bid to put last week's FAI Continental Tyres Women's Senior Cup Final disappointment behind them when they travel to Eamonn Deacy Park.
Home boss Don O'Riordan will look for his side to bounce back from losing a 4-3 thriller against Castlebar Celtic two weeks ago. They had shown their quality the week previously drawing 2-2 with Raheny. Galway have a number of players on the doubtful list. Alanna Moran and Eleanor Stafford are close to return from injuries.
"We had a good look at UCD Waves in last week's game. We've looked at their strengths and it is hard to find the weaknesses. Our first game against Waves I didn't really know them but now we're into second series of games I know what we're facing," said O'Riordan.
"We don't have a win over the top sides so that's an ambition. That said, the loss to Castlebar was unexpected for us. We lost two players one after the other just before the team-talk and it threw us. We had to make a late change and we were nothing like we'd been against Raheny. I am wondering if complacency is affecting us.
"There'll be no way anybody can show any complacency against a very good side like UCD Waves. We know they have attacking strengths and we're trying to prepare for that. Eileen doesn't have a huge squad but every player in their squad is quality and they were very unlucky last week. They'll come to us with all guns blazing."
UCD boss Eileen Gleeson is a colleague of O'Riordan on the FAI's current UEFA Pro Licence course but her focus will be on getting her side's title aspirations back on track with this important fixture.
"Sunday was a very disappointing day - particularly in how the game was lost. That's football. We've got to get on with it and focus on the Galway game now," said Gleeson.
"I felt it was a close game without either side really looking like winning it. The Aviva is a great day but that cup is over now. The league is the most important thing for us.
"Galway had a good draw against Raheny and are well organised at home. I've come to know Don well on the Pro Licence. I know with all his years of experience he has them well organised."
Cork City Women's FC v Wexford Youths Women's AFC, Bishopstown (2.00pm). Referee: Ricky Crean.
CORK City Women's FC welcome the leaders to Bishopstown on Sunday bidding to bounce back from last week's difficult trip to Castlebar where a depleted side lost 5-1.
Stacey Paul and Natalie Coughlan return after work commitments and Angie Carry is back after a one game suspension. Fiona Considine and Natalie Coughlan have both returned to light training but Nathalie O'Brien is still out for the foreseeable future with a broken leg.
Cork manager Charlie Lynch is optimistic going into the game. He said: "Last time out against Wexford we narrowly lost 1-0 in Ferrycarrig Park.
"Wexford are presently leading the league and we know it will be a tough game, however with a near full-strength squad to pick from and the close score-line last time we played I am looking for a strong performance from our girls."
Wexford boss Willie Doyle will be looking to see his side maintain their lead at top of division but has injury concerns to cope with. Jenny Clifford suffered an aggravation of her recent knee injury, Amy Walshe suffered a knock playing for Carlow, Orlaith Conlon, Beccy Hayden and Orla Hickey are also out.
"We've stull a lot of work to do and improvements can be made. We're taking each game at a time," said Doyle.
"Cork have improved this season and we saw that with the two games we saw earlier this season. Our players have been used to being overlooked finishing third twice in a row and the big two were always ahead of them. We won't consider ourselves in a title challenge until we've more games against the main sides such as Raheny, UCD and Peamount under our belts."