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Top two clash in Bus Éireann Women’s National League

(2.00pm unless stated)

Raheny United v Peamount United, Morton Stadium. Referee: Rhone Daly

RAHENY United host Peamount United at Morton Stadium on Sunday seeking to strike a major blow in the title race for the Bus Éireann Women’s National League.

Champions Peamount travel to Raheny leading the table by five points but the home side have two games in hand so the outcome of Sunday’s fixture could have a pivotal impact on the destination of the title this season.

Peamount hammered DLR Waves last Sunday in their most recent fixture while Raheny beat the same opponents 1-0 on Wednesday to set up an intriguing top two clash.

“It’s going to be a huge test for us. We’ve done well up to now but this is where you get marker against league champions,” said Raheny boss Sean Byrne.

“Peamount are very good in attack and girls will have to be on their toes to keep a clean sheet as their strikers are so prolific. It’s a huge test against the likes of Sara Lawlor, Aine O’Gorman and Stephanie Roche.

“The weather dictated the game against DLR on Wednesday. We didn’t do as well as we’d have liked in that one but we’ll go into Sunday’s game looking forward to the challenge.”

Peamount boss Eileen Gleeson insists that her side will not be changing their approach for this clash – although they are well aware of the significance of this game in the title race.

“It’s a good competitive fixture this week and we’re looking forward to it. Games against Raheny are always competitive and in relation to the title race it’s obvious that both sides are looking for the three points,” said Gleeson/

“We all know that this game will have a say in the title race. We don’t change anything in terms of our preparation as we focus on our own stuff but we do bear the opposition in mind. Both teams play open football and it’s always an enjoyable game. We just have to keep our focus on the task we have ahead of us.

“Raheny are our biggest rivals and we all know the importance of the result in terms of the title. All of our girls are up for it.”

Raheny have Noelle Murray (ankle) and Rachel Graham (hamstring) as major doubts. Katie McCabe returns from suspension. Peamount United are at full strength.

DLR Waves boss Larry Mahony has seen both sides at close range this week and expects a very tight affair on Sunday. “When Peamount lost at home to Raheny in January there was possibly a bit of fortune about the manner of Raheny’s victory and Peamount are probably still kicking themselves about losing that one,” said Mahony.

“They are both extremely good teams with similar qualities but I don’t see there being much in it. If Peamount score early they can get on top of teams very quickly but Raheny have such quality that I can’t see them giving much away.”

Shamrock Rovers v DLR Waves, AUL Complex (5.00pm). Referee: Natasha Valentini

SHAMROCK Rovers host DLR Waves looking to finally end a run of frustrating narrow defeats while the visitors will be glad of some respite having faced two daunting clashes against the top two Peamount United and Raheny United in four days.

This game has been switched to the AUL Complex with a later kick-off time than previous.

“Last week was a very good performance. Wexford probably felt they were fortunate to get a result. There are opportunities there for us to pick up three points whenever we play teams outside the top three so I’m hopeful we can do that this weekend,” said Rovers coach Stephen Craig .

The Hoops have doubts over Carol Conlon (ankle) and Michelle Watson (ankle) but Laura Traynor is available after missing last week’s narrow loss to Wexford.

“We put in a good performance and we were unfortunate. It was a great recovery from Sunday’s game and we hope to carry the momentum into this game,” said Waves coach Larry Mahony.

Lucy Cordoba (knee) suffered an injury, Avril Kilkelly played in goal through injury with the Waves three other goalkeeping options still out of action.

Wexford Youths Women's AFC v Castlebar Celtic, Ferrycarrig Park. Referee: Michelle O'Neill

WEXFORD Youths welcome Castlebar Celtic to Ferrycarrig Park looking to maintain their pursuit of the top two.

Castlebar lost 6-1 in Milebush when these sides last met in January but the Mayo side have picked up some decent results since then and are in decent form.

“We were well beaten by Wexford last time out but we’ll go down there knowing that we’ve put in some good performances recently away from home and will have the mentality that we can get something from this one,” said Celtic coach John Morris-Burke.

 

Castlebar’s Emma Hansberry and Jenny Byrne are doubtful while Aisling Concannon has recovered from a thigh strain while some players are struggling with exam commitments.

 

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