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Sat Dec 13, Cork City WFC v Castlebar Celtic

Sun Dec 14, Galway WFC v Raheny United; Peamount United v Wexford Youths WAFC

Saturday, December 13

Cork City Women's AFC v Castlebar Celtic, Bishopstown (2.00pm). Referee: Sinead Forde

CORK CITY WFC will seek to end 2014 on a high when they host Castlebar Celtic at Bishopstown Stadium tomorrow.

The Leesiders are still chasing their first victory of the season with just two wins from their opening ten fixtures. Unfortunately for City they have a few players unavailable for this fixture - Nicole Smith (ankle) is out while Laura Medbury is a doubt. Nathalie O’Brien remains out with a broken leg while Stacey Paul and Natalie Coughlan are both unavailable. Chloe Ahern returns from injury.

City manager Charlie Lynch said: “Despite our defeat last weekend, we are approaching this weekend’s game with some confidence and feel that we can get a result.

“We lost four of our potential starters late on Saturday last and lined out against the champions with a much weakened team. The girls put in an excellent performance, mainly defensive but also with several fast breaks in which we created some good scoring chances. The spirit, right to the final whistle was excellent and it also showed that our fitness levels have improved greatly.”

Castlebar’s last two games were 2-2 draws with UCD Waves and Peamount United so they will look to claim the three points in Cork.

Rachel King is suspended. Aoife Brennan doing well in goal anyway, Emma Curley and Suzanne Gordon work commitments.

“It’s a tough journey for us. Going down on the morning of the game will be tough enough on the girls. We need to start converting our draws into wins. They have pace up front so will be a threat so it will be a good test,” said Celtic boss Adrian Carberry.

Sunday, December 14

Galway WFC v Raheny United, Eamonn Deacy Park (2.00pm). Referee: Marc Lynch

GALWAY WFC boss Don O’Riordan spent last week in the Netherlands as part of his UEFA Pro Licence course and found the visit to some of the top Dutch women’s teams as well as other Eredivisie clubs a real inspiration.

O’Riordan’s Galwegians are looking to make progress in the Continental Tyres Women’s National League this season but his long term ambitions for the club have been boosted by his recent experiences.

“It was great to see what Ajax have done with their women’s team and they are now training over three mornings a week. We also went to FC Twente and PEC Zwolle and spoke to people involved in their women’s football set-up,” he explained.

“I saw a lot to make me think about how we can help improve Irish women’s football and this club in particular. FC Twente spoke about aiming high and looking to raise the expectations of the players and the commitment levels. They’ve been going seven years and have been improving every year.

“That trip has opened up a lot of ideas and it was inspirational. It’s always been my ambition to get into the Champions League as a manager and  I’d love to do it with Galway WFC. I’ve seen how Ajax and FC Twente have made their progress. We also saw Anderlecht play and I think my team could give them a good game. We all felt it was a tremendous experience.”

O’Riordan’s Galway side held leaders Wexford Youths last week and will face an interesting test against champions Raheny United this Sunday.

“Last week we faced the league leaders and this week we have the champions. We wanted to show Wexford we weren’t an easy side to beat as we had been when we went down there,” he said.

“Last week we matched them from a physical point of view yard for yard. We didn’t play technically as well as I’d have liked but I couldn’t have faulted the effort everybody put in and we had a couple of chances so could have won it although our keeper also had a few saves to make.

“We’re gaining confidence week by week. We’ve got to build on that and do our utmost to get the win on Sunday.”

Galway have signed Ellie O’Flaherty, daughter of former Galway United and St Patrick’s Athletic star Ricky. “She’s been training with us for a few weeks so she is the right age to play in the league now and I think she’s going to be a very good player. I used to coach her father so it’s nice to be working with the next generation. We’ll help her develop,” O’Riordan added.

Raheny United continue without Clare Shine while Niamh Barnes is also out. Pandas boss Casey McQuillan expects a tough test at Eamonn Deacy Park.

“We’re still looking to catch up on back games and are looking to get back on top of the table. It won’t tell the true story until everybody has played same amount but once we are on top at the end of the season I’ll be happy,” he said.

“We’re concerned enough about this game. Wexford didn’t get it easy last week and we’ve never had it easy against Galway over the past few years so we know this will be really tough.”

Peamount United v Wexford Youths Women's AFC, Greenogue (2.00pm). Referee: Paula Brady.

WITH last week’s game against UCD Waves being abandoned Peamount United’s record heading into their meeting with leaders Wexford Youths remains three consecutive draws.

Robbie Mulligan’s side will look to see out 2014 with a big result against the Model County outfit, who have shown that they are determined to hang on in there in the title race.

“It was disappointing the game was abandoned last week but these things happen and you have to respect referees decision. We’ll look forward to playing UCD again in the New Year,” said Mulligan.

“We know Wexford have had a good season to date. We want to get some pay back for the defeats we had against themselves so it is a game we’re looking forward to.

“We’ve gone three games unbeaten now but it was three draws so were looking to push on from being competitive to getting wins.

“It’s a senior women’s league and we have a lot of young players but the likes of Eleanor Ryan Doyle who is just 16, Brooke Dunne in goal aged 17 and other young players like Amber Barrett and Lauren Kealy have shown they can cope at this level. The future is very bright for Peamount. We’ve no fear of going into a game like this.”

Youths boss Willie Doyle has to operate without the injured Jenny Clifford and Orla Conlon but expects to have all other options available. His side drew 0-0 in Galway last week.

“I felt last week was another tough away game for us. We were lucky to come away with a point to keep our challenge going. It was 50-50 so we were happy to get the point. I don’t think many sides will be walking away with results down there,” he said.

“Peamount are improving as they’re going along. They’ve taken a while to reassemble after all the changes so it was naturally going to take them a while to gel.

“I’m sure they’ll be decent. They are a young team but have some very good experience to mix with the U17 internationals.

“We need to start getting back scoring goals so we’ll be going there looking to get on the front foot and see if we can come away with the points.”

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