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Bus Éireann Women’s National League Previews

It's that time of year again, Bus Eireann Women's National League is about to kick off.  With some mouthwatering games in the opening set of fixtures, be sure you get out to see a game this weekend.

Sunday August 26

Cork Women’s FC vs Shamrock Rovers, Referee, Chris Buckley

Turners Cross, 14.00hrs

Cork Women’s FC comes into the 2012 season with a new manager, Maurice Farrell. Cork ended last season third in the League and 16 points behind champions Peamount United. Talking in pre-season, Farrell said that his main aim is to develop young players. “We need to work together with the local clubs in developing players here to make them bigger and stronger so they can actually fight for league honours in the near future. Winning the league this season would be a huge bonus but consolidating our place as the third best team in the league would do us for our first year in terms of how we want to develop the whole squad,” said Farrell.

Meanwhile, Cork’s opposition this weekend, Shamrock Rovers feel their pre-season has been going very well. Team manager, John Walsh says it was great to start this year’s preparations with a full squad and everyone knowing what to expect. The hoops have also brought in a new coach, Grainne Kierans, formerly of Arsenal, Leeds and Ireland who Walsh says is already making a difference. “Grainne has been brilliant. She is young and has great experience which is really generating a great response from the girls. You get a real sense that she will help bring a lot of our players to the next level.” Rovers are focused on the job in hand and hopeful they can pick up points when they travel to Cork on Sunday.

Sunday August 26

DLR Waves vs Raheny United, Referee, Marie Ward

Jackson Park Kiltiernan, 14.00hrs

Newcomers to the League, DLR Waves are under no illusions as to the task facing them when they take on last year’s second placed club, Raheny United. The Waves will be looking to use their first season to lay down the structures needed for a club at this level. With their first team managed by the experienced Larry Mahony, the club will also benefit from the know-how of Keith O’Halloran who is playing a big role in setting up DLR Waves’ academy structures. The former Shamrock Rovers, St Johnstone, Swindon Town and Middlesbrough player says, “ DLR Waves is all about becoming  is community based club, starting from three year olds and providing a good pathway for them to develop through our academy.”

Looking at their first season in the Bus Éireann Women’s National League, O’Halloran says, “We have a number of promising young players signed for us. Our aim this season is to develop a well-rounded and competitive squad and I have no doubt they can spring a few surprises along the way. “

For their opponents this weekend, Raheny United, the pre-season has been all about match fitness. Manager Ger McDermott says, “We started last season with a slight lack of match sharpness and wanted to get that right this year.” McDermott is also conscious that rivals, Peamount have had more games with their Champions League exploits so he extended Raheny’s pre-season to 8 weeks.

“The first weeks were all about conditioning but in recent weeks we played a boys team, Wexford Youths Women’s and the Ireland Under 19s,” says McDermott. “This weekend is a step into the unknown against DLR Waves. They have two or three senior players but I’m expecting a young side and we will be taking nothing for granted.”

Sunday August 26

Peamount United v Wexford Youths, Referee David Berry

Greenouge , Newcastle, Co Dublin, 14.00hrs

Last year’s League and Cup winners, Peamount United go into 2012/13 with a long pre-season and a number of competitive matches under their belts in the qualifying round of the Women’s Champions League in Bosnia. Although the Peas won two of their three encounters, they stayed pinned in second place after their opening defeat. That experience will have done Eileen Gleeson’s charges no harm in preparing for the first match of the season against Wexford Youths Women’s. With much of last year’s side intact and Stephanie Roche, the league’s top goal scorer (24) and Sara Lawlor (15) continuing their partnership up front, the Peas will be hopeful of getting three points this weekend.

Wexford Youths Women’s finished in a respectable fourth place last year, level with Cork on 20 points but just behind them on goal difference and they will be intent on remaining in the running this season. Going head to head with last year’s champions, Peamount United may prove to be a difficult opener, but the South East club will be taking a longer view of the season. There have been a few personnel changes this season and they will be without Charlotte McCormack and Ciara O’Brien but on the plus side, they have signed Under 17 international pair, Lauren Dwyer and Ciara Rossiter.

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