Bus Éireann Women’s National League previews

Sunday, April 28

(2.00pm kick-offs)

Castlebar Celtic v Raheny United, Celtic Park. Referee: Irma Mulvihill.

RAHENY United maintain their title pursuit when they travel to Celtic Park on Sunday for a testing clash with Castlebar Celtic, who have emerged as one of the form teams in the league.

The Mayo side have won three and drawn one of their last four games and are always hard to beat at Celtic Park.

Raheny boss Sean Byrne was pleased with his side’s 7-0 win over Cork Women’s FC in midweek which keeps them on course for the title should they win all of their remaining fixtures.

“We have known for the last few weeks that we couldn’t afford to drop points. We’re taking every game as it comes,” said Byrne.

“I was happy with how the girls played the other night and we’ll be looking for another good performance so if we get that I’ll be happy. I know from previous games that Castlebar are tough on their own ground and they’re not going to be an easy challenge for us.”

Castlebar boss John Morris-Burke should have a full strength squad to choose from. “We were buoyed by the victory in Wexford last week. I was well pleased, especially after going behind after 25 seconds. Thankfully we had enough time to get it back and we ground out the win in the end.

“In terms of the title race, Peamount have been very strong and even though we gave them a good game they beat us well in the end. Raheny are a good side and we have to respect what they’ve done this season. We are playing them three times in a short space of time so they should make for an interesting series of games.”

Raheny are without Siobhan Killeen (ankle) but Noelle Murray and Rachel Graham are close to returns to fitness.

Cork Women’s FC v DLR Waves, Turner’s Cross. Referee: Sinead Forde.

CORK Women’s FC will look to bounce back from their heavy loss to Raheny United when they welcome DLR Waves to Turner’s Cross on Sunday.

Denise O’Sullivan and Amy O’Connor remain out for Cork but Clare Shine should be okay while Claudia Hudner and Lauren Murphy return after exams. DLR welcome back goalkeeper Linda Meehan from a quad injury but have a couple of others ruled out.

“Raheny were excellent in mid-week. We were off the pace and we need to get back to our best this weekend,” said Cork’s Chris O’Mahoney.

DLR boss Larry Mahony expects a test at Turner’s Cross. He said: “It’ll be tough for us no matter who we face in this league but I expect us to be competitive. Scoring four goals last week was another step towards instilling some belief in the side. It’s the first time we’ve scored that many goals.”

Peamount United v Shamrock Rovers, Greenogue. Referee: Paula Brady.

PEAMOUNT United remain top of the league with just two games left but know that the destination of the title is out of their hands following their draw with Raheny United last week. Raheny have a game in hand on the champions.

The Peas will host Shamrock Rovers at Greenogue looking to pick up the three points and hope that Raheny will drop points elsewhere.

Following their 2-2 draw with Raheny last week, Peamount coach Eileen Gleeson knows that the odds are against her side but insists they must keep their focus on achieving their own requirements of winning their final two fixtures.

“All we can do is focus on our own games and hopefully see what happens elsewhere. Last week didn’t go too well for us. We conceded the equaliser with four minutes to go. You have to maintain concentration until the final whistle,” she said.

“Raheny are obviously our most competitive rivals but you have to keep your own performances up no matter who you face. We have to do our jobs now. We can’t affect Raheny’s results. We’ll do our jobs and see how things pan out.”

Rovers boss Stephen Craig was disappointed with his side’s 4-1 loss to DLR Waves last week having taken the lead and knows Peamount are not going to be doing them any favours on Sunday

“After we scored last week we fell apart a bit. We’ve made definite improvement but it was a pity we went back to conceding so many soft goals after cutting that out,” he said.

“This is about as tough a game as you can get. We’ll go compete as best we can. Last time we played them we were just 1-0 down at half-time. If we can keep that momentum going for 90 minutes instead of just half then we can maybe cause them problems.”

Carol Conlon (ankle) is still struggling for Rovers while Laura Traynor is also a doubt.

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