Clubs enjoy an innovative launch experience at the home of Irish football

The launch of the 2015-16 Continental Tyres Women’s National League season took place today at FAI Headquarters on the National Sports Campus with players, managers, coaches, backroom staff and officials from the eight clubs along with representatives of the media, Continental Tyres, WFAI and FAI.

The new season, which kicks-off on September 5 and runs until May 1, will see the clubs battling for four Continental Tyres sponsored trophies via the League, League Cup, FAI Women’s Senior Cup and a new Shield competition.  There will be two new clubs in the Women’s National League this season following the admission of Kilkenny United and the amalgamation of two-times League champions Raheny United with Shelbourne Ladies.

Today’s launch was an interactive, competitive, educational and engaging event with something for everyone. Players took to the new 3G pitch at FAI HQ to take part in the Conti Warm-up, Continental Challenges and an Exhibition Match while coaches and managers were involved in a specially designed performance workshop with FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter, who is a former manager of the Netherlands Women’s National Team. There was also a Marketing and Communications workshop which featured an enlightening presentation from top Scottish club Glasgow City who reached the last eight of the UEFA Women’s Champions League last season.

The day’s highlight was a very special panel discussion, hosted by RTE’s Jacqui Hurley and featuring Ruud Dokter as well as Ireland Women’s National Team manager Sue Ronan, Continental Tyres Women’s National League Player of the Year 2014-15 Áine O’Gorman, Continental Tyres Performance Coach Leon Turner and Glasgow City Club Manager Laura Montgomery.

Speaking at the launch Guy Frobisher, Continental Tyres Head of Marketing, UK & Ireland said: “Continental Tyres is committed to helping to grow women’s football in Ireland. We’re focused on working closely with the FAI to help equip everyone involved with the league – from coaches to players to communities - with the necessary skills and expertise to help profile and ultimately to grow the appeal of women’s football in Ireland from grassroots to national level.

“The Women’s National League is already showing positive signs of growth after our first year of sponsorship and we want to build on this throughout the season. We know how important it is that that we continue to push the boundaries by getting people out to support their local football teams.”

Concluding, Frobisher added: “As well supporting the Women’s National League, Continental Tyres FAI Cup and WNL cup and shield games, we’re really excited about our Irish Women’s National Team Euro 2017 #RoadtoHolland campaign which kicks off next month.”

The FAI’s Director of Competitions Fran Gavin said: “The Continental Tyres Women’s National League is entering its fifth season and it is now firmly established as the top level within Irish women’s football and the standard that every player and coach, with the ambition and ability to be the best, wants to operate at.  I’m fortunate to have seen the league grow from an idea into what it is today and while there have been plenty of twists and turns along the way it is quite apparent that we are heading in the right direction and, this season, the addition of a new club, Kilkenny United, and the amalgamation of Raheny United and Shelbourne, are positive steps forward.

“One area where we as a League have been lucky has been in the areas of sponsorship. Continental Tyres interest in promoting women’s football has been tremendous and since they have come on board we have formed an excellent partnership which has definitely helped to raise the profile of women’s football in Ireland. This novel day-long launch of the 2015-16 season is another example of Continental’s desire to push the boundaries and that can only benefit Irish women’s football in the long run. We are looking forward to an exciting season and seeing our clubs and players continue their development.”

The Continental Tyres Women’s National League 2015-16 season will commence with a new Shield competition which sees the eight teams divided into two regional groups of four with Cork City, Kilkenny United, UCD Waves and Wexford Youths in Group A and Castlebar Celtic, Galway WFC, Peamount United and Shelbourne Ladies in Group B. It kicks off on September 5 with the following fixtures:

 

Saturday, September 5

Group A

Wexford Youths WAFC v UCD Waves, Ferrycarrig Park, 7.30pm

Group B

Peamount United v Castlebar Celtic, Greenogue, 7pm

Galway WFC v Shelbourne Ladies FC, Eamonn Deacy Park, 7.30pm

Sunday, September 6

Group A

Cork City WFC v Kilkenny United WFC, Bishopstown Stadium, 2pm

                                                                                           

The League commences on October 10 with the champions Wexford Youth Women’s AFC beginning the defence of their title away to UCD Waves the following day. The opening weekend fixtures are:

           

Saturday, October 10

            Peamount United v Galway WFC, Greenogue, 7pm

Castlebar Celtic v Shelbourne Ladies FC, Celtic Park, 7.30pm

Sunday, October 11

Kilkenny United WFC v Cork City WFC, Buckley Park, 2pm

UCD Waves v Wexford Youths WAFC, Jackson Park, 2pm

Further details are available from www.wnl.fai.ie

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