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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 24 May, 2020

Here are your Women's National League previews

Peamount United will sit this round out, but the Bus Éireann FAI Women’s National League has three fixtures to whet your appetite.

Shamrock Rovers' Lyndsey Hayden and Sandra Mulhall of Raheny collide when the sides met in January.
Shamrock Rovers' Lyndsey Hayden and Sandra Mulhall of Raheny collide when the sides met in January.
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

TURNER’S CROSS, Jackson Park and Tallaght Stadium play host to the three Bus Éireann FAI Women’s National League matches to be played in the third series of fixtures tomorrow.

With champions Peamount United the designated ‘free’ team this weekend Raheny United’s Dublin derby away to Shamrock Rovers takes on even greater significance as victory for Ger McDermott’s outfit would place a welcome three-point buffer between themselves and Eileen Gleeson’s charges, currently second in the section on goal difference.

Elsewhere on Sunday afternoon, Cork Women’s FC welcome Wexford Youths Women’s AFC to Turner’s Cross and DLR Waves entertain Castlebar Celtic.

Cork Women’s FC v Wexford Youths Women’s AFC. 2pm, Turner’s Cross, Cork.

Maurice Farrell’s Cork are seeking a first home win over John Flood’s Wexford in the WNL.

Farrell’s side overcame the challenge of Shamrock Rovers 2-1 at Turner’s Cross on the opening weekend however lost to Raheny 3-1 afterwards at Morton Stadium.

Yet their performance in defeat was much improved from that of those produced against the same calibre of opposition previously.

Wexford also have three points on the board.

The Ferrycarrig Park-based Slaneysiders bounced back from an opening day reverse to Peamount (4-1) to beat inexperienced newcomers DLR Waves (3-0) before the senior international break.

Wexford ended last season in fourth four goals inferior to Cork but in Cherelle Khassel they possess an attacker capable of troubling the Leesiders’ defence.

Cork lost, won and drew against Wexford last season however are a sturdier outfit presently and can win.

DLR Waves v Castlebar Celtic. 2pm, Jackson Park, Glenamuck Road, Kilternan, Dublin.

Second half goals from dynamic duo Stephanie Roche and Sara Lawlor condemned Castlebar Celtic to a defeat in their opener against Peamount United at Celtic Park on September 9 but their greater experience may prove decisive away to DLR Waves.

Castlebar finished second last in the section last season but they held Peamount for 72 minutes in their previous outing which will hearten them for the trip east.

The westerners are extremely strong in the middle with midfielders Rachel King, Shaunagh Jackson, Maria Harrington, last season’s WNL Young Player of the Year Emma Hansberry and Lauren Boles expected to command the middle third.

Larry Mahony’s DLR Waves have found the going at the top table of women’s soccer in the country tough losing heavily to Raheny and Wexford and unfortunately for them they may lose here too.

Shamrock Rovers v Raheny United. 2pm, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin.

CORK striker Lynsey McKey ensured Shamrock Rovers left Turner’s Cross empty-handed on the first day of the new season and the Tallaght unit’s task will be just as difficult this weekend as they meet Raheny.

McDermott’s title-chasers are taking no prisoners this term in pursuit of their league-winning dream and already they have scored nine times, four from Republic of Ireland senior international Rebecca Creagh, and conceded just twice in wins over DLR Waves and Cork.

They have the added incentive of gaining a points lead on Peamount heading into this clash and despite the progress exceptional manager John Walsh and his management team are making with Rovers, this still, on paper at least, appears to have ‘away win’ written all over it.

Rachel Jenkins notched for Rovers away to Cork but Raheny will be aware of her attacking threat too.

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Peter McNamara

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