The Continental Tyres Women's National League is set to kick-off this Sunday with Wexford Youths looking to defend their WNL crown.

Wexford secured the trophy last season thanks to a dramatic final day victory over Peamount United. Watched by over 700 supporters at Ferrycarrig Park, goals from Emma Hansberry and Rianna Jarrett secured the title. 

This season is shaping up to be really exciting with the inclusion of Limerick WFC, bringing the total of teams up to eight, and with a number of notable signings made by clubs in the close season. 

Club: Wexford Youths WFC
Ground: Ferrycarrig Park
Manager: Tom Elmes
Last season's finish: 1st (Champions)

Wexford Youths have seen plenty of change since they lifted the Continental Tyres Women's National League title in November with new manager Tom Elmes at the helm.

Laura Heffernan left the club after last season and Elmes takes over looking to build on last year's success. Elmes played for Wexford Youths in the SSE Airtricity League and has notable coaching experience from his role at IT Carlow. 

Notable signings: Defender Rebekah Carroll joins the club from UCD Waves in what looks like an astute signing by Youths. Carroll travelled to Taipei to represent Team Ireland at the World University Games last year and had an impressive season for Waves, playing in the WFAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium. Ciara Delaney and Clionagh Ní Shí have also signed for Youths from Kilkenny United.

One to Watch: Orla Casey has great presence and awareness on the pitch at such a young age. The 17-year old already looks comfortable at the level with more improvement to come. 

They said: Kylie Murphy, Wexford Youths skipper - "It was a fantastic honour to win the league last season. Maybe people didn't think we had it in us last season as we were getting to the end.

"We pushed over the line again, like we've done in the past, and we'll be looking to do the same this season. The club has changes each year but it is the same core group of girls each year and they're relentless. It's new for the manager and the squad but it's going really well so far."

Club: Peamount United
Ground: Greenogue
Manager: James O'Callaghan
Last season's finish: 2nd

Peamount United suffered heartbreak on the final day of the Women's National League season as Wexford Youths claimed a 2-0 victory to lift the title. 

The final day defeat shouldn't cloud what was a fantastic season for Peas with such a young squad and they should only get better this season with a number of impressive signings made.

Notable Signings: Republic of Ireland Internationals Aine O'Gorman, Karen Duggan and Claire Walsh have all joined from UCD Waves and goalkeeper Niamh Reid-Burke has also signed from Shelbourne Ladies. 

One to Watch: Heather Payne - Payne has gone from strength to strength in the last year. From an WU17 international to making her first start for the senior squad against Portugal in January, the pacey winger is one of the outstanding talents in the WNL.

They said: Louise Corrigan, Peamount United defender - "We did really well last season and got down to the league decider. It was really difficult to lose it in the end but that should really inspire us to kick on this season. 

"We've strengthened ahead of this season so we just need to keep doing what we're doing. It's been great to see a few more of the locals come in and watch the games so hopefully we can attract more crowds this season."

Club: Shelbourne Ladies
Ground: AUL
Manager: Danny Crowley
Last season's finish: 3rd

Plenty of change at Shelbourne Ladies in the close season as they welcome new manager Danny Crowley to the club after Shaun Maher and Mark Leavy both left the club.

Crowley brings with him a wealth of experience having managed Home Farm FC and Raheny United, and also worked with Team Ireland at the World University Games.

Notable Signings: A Shelbourne hero has returned as Noelle Murray signs after a one-year stint with Glasgow City last season, where they won the Scottish Women's Premier League title. Jess Gleeson has also signed from Wexford Youths.

One to Watch: Besides striker Leanne Kiernan, watch out for young talents defender Tiegan Ruddy and winger Isibeal Atkinson. Atkinson has spent time with the senior squad so expect more from the pacey winger this season.

They said: Noelle Murray, Shelbourne Ladies skipper - "I'm delighted to be back. I really enjoyed my time with Glasgow last year and winning the league was great.

"The team were able to win the League Cup last year but I'm sure there was disappointment that the club couldn't challenge for the title. There is great quality in the squad and we've got a great mix of youth and experience so I can't wait to get back out there and challenge for the title."

Club: UCD Waves
Ground: Jackson Park
Manager: Noel Kealy
Last season's finish: 4th

UCD Waves suffered WFAI Cup final disappointment last season at the Aviva Stadium as Cork City WFC lifted the title thanks to Clare Shine's first-half strike.

Manager Noel Kealy has been tasked with a rebuilding job after a string of notable departures to Peamount United as he looks to build on last season's 4th-place finish and the WNL Shield victory.

Notable Signings: Avril Brierly has signed having had past experience with Peamount United and Shelbourne Ladies. However, keeping hold of Chloe Mustaki and Dearbhaile Beirne were the most important signings.

One to Watch: Chloe Mustaki - The former Bordeaux defender is the outstanding player in the squad, who also can play in midfield for Waves, but watch out for attacking midfielder Naimi Chemaou who can light up any game on her day.

They said: UCD Waves' Aisling Dunbar - "It was a great experience to play at the Aviva Stadium last year and even though we did lose, it was a great achievement to get there.

"We need to keep improving this season, they'll be a lot of young players this season so we need to make sure that we work as a group and progress as other teams around us have."

Club: Cork City FC
Ground: Bishopstown 
Manager: Frank Kelleher
Last season's finish: 5th

Cork City FC lifted the WFAI Cup for the first time in their history last season after a fantastic run to the trophy which included wins over Peamount United, Wexford Youths and UCD Waves.

Kelleher will know that if they can produce the same type of form in the league as they did in the cup last season, Cork City could claim their highest-ever finish. 

Notable Signings: Savannah McCarthy has signed for Cork City after a two-season stint with Scottish Premier League Champions Glasgow City. Hannah Donoghue, Amy McCormack and Eadaoin Lyons also signed.

One to Watch: Amanda Budden - The Cork City goalkeeper has benefitted from her time with the Republic of Ireland senior squad and can now lay claim to being the best keeper in the league.

They said: Ciara McNamara, Cork City captain - "It was a great feeling to lift the cup and to win at the Aviva Stadium. It was a huge moment for the club as the attention women's football is getting in Cork now is huge.

"Merging with Cork City and bringing everything together is fantastic for the development of the game. It is bringing more attention to the club and hopefully we can bring more success this season."

Club: Galway Women's FC
Ground: Eamonn Deacy Park
Manager: Billy Clery
Last season's finish: 6th

Galway Women's will be hoping to do better than last season's 6th-place finish as Clery looks to progress a talented, young squad.

Consistency was a huge issue for the Galway manager last season as injuries meant he was constantly forced to rotate his squad. However, as they proved on many occasions last season, Galway are more than a match for anyone in the league on their day.

Notable Signings: Carlie Schecht has signed for Galway for the 2018 season having previously played in America for the New Haven Chargers where she was named MVP in the 2016-17 season. Andrea Trill has also signed from Cregmore who will be one to watch in the future.

One to Watch: Aislinn Meaney - Made her Republic of Ireland senior debut against Portugal in January, Meaney has the pace, skill and match intelligence to win any game.

They said: Shauna Fox, Galway WFC defender - "We want to do better this season, that's for sure. We've got a lot of quality in the squad so we've got to bring it all together and climb the table.

"We're confident we can progress this season, we've got a few players knocking on the door in the international squad. I worked with Colin (Bell) at the World University Games so hopefully I can make a break-through there."

Club: Kilkenny United WFC
Ground: The Watershed
Manager: -
Last season's finish: 7th

Kilkenny United took an impressive step forward last season after claiming their first-ever Continental Tyres Women's National League victory.

Kilkenny will be looking to build on that success this season and with Limerick entering the league, Kilkenny will need to kick on to make sure they don't end the season in 8th spot.

Notable Signing: Positive news for Kilkenny and the Republic of Ireland as Carla McManus signs for the club. McManus struggled for game-time at Peamount United last season and now has the platform to show her potential.

One to Watch: Carla McManus - Pacey striker, McManus would definitely be the one to watch if her performances for the Republic of Ireland WU17 and WU19s are anything to go by. Gives Kilkenny a great option in behind the opposition WNL defences.

They said: Bronagh Kane, Kilkenny United - "To get that first-ever win under our belt last season was a huge achievement. It was a long time coming but to finally get it was a great feeling.

"We really need to improve and kick on next season. We've seen some really good players join the club and hopefully we can get a few more wins under our belt next season, and keep developing as players."

Club: Limerick WFC 
Ground: Markets Field
Manager: Dave Rooney
Last season's finish: n/a

Limerick are set to compete in their first season of the Continental Tyres Women's National League and should prove to be a great addition to the league.

Already confirmed at Markets Field for the season, Limerick will be managed by Dave Rooney who has worked within the Republic of Ireland coaching set-up as he looks to build the club up from scratch.

Notable Signing: Sylvia Gee is the most experienced of experienced campaigners and moves to Limerick from Kilkenny United. At 39-years old, Gee is set to be the oldest player in the league this season but has exactly the sort of experience Limerick will need.

One to watch: Tara Mannix - Former Republic of Ireland under-age international, just returning from a cruciate injury, Mannix is an outstanding talent if she can stay fit. 

They said: Therese Hartley, Limerick WFC - "We're under no illusions to how big the task is. We're a young club but there is a nice mix of youth and experience.

"We're really looking forward to the challenge and we want to build something down in Limerick and to have top quality women's football in Limerick is brilliant. We've seen the best players stay in the country over the last few seasons and that's great for the development of the leagues."

Continental Tyres Women's National League - Series 1 Fixtures

Galway Women’s FC v Cork City Women’s FC, Eamonn Deacy Park 2pm
Limerick v Kilkenny United, Markets Field, 2pm
Peamount United v UCD Waves, Greenogue, 2pm
Wexford Youths v Shelbourne Ladies, Ferrycarrig Park, 2pm


We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to manage them, see our Privacy Policy.

I accept cookies from this site