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New Shelbourne Ladies manager Danny Crowley is enjoying his first experience in the Continental Tyres Women's National League as he leads the side into the 2018 season.

Shelbourne Ladies begin their Women's National League campaign against Peamount United on Saturday, March 17, with kick-off at 12pm at the FAI National Training Centre.

Shaun Maher and Mark Leavy left the club in the off-season and former Irish Universities and Home Farm Head Coach Danny Crowley was appointed as the club look to improve on last season's third-placed finish.

"It's been very interesting. Obviously, it's my first time working in the Women's National League so it's been an interesting introduction. I'm really impressed with the standard of the squad, pleasantly impressed by just how good the team are," Crowley admitted.

"To be honest, there is a lot of quality in the squad and that is reflected with the amount of players we have in the international set-up across the age groups. There is a lot of competition for places but we're working off 21 players so we're happy enough with the size of the squad."

Shelbourne lifted the Women's National League Cup last season after beating Peamount United in the final at Greenogue but failed to mount a title challenge due to their inconsistent form. However, the signs are positive heading into the new season as the club welcomes back Noelle Murray after she left Glasgow City to return home.

Since returning, Murray has been made captain of the team and Crowley admits he is looking forward to working with the 28-year old and Republic of Ireland WNT international Leanne Kiernan.

"I've made Noelle captain. She is a huge influence on the squad with her strong personality and an extremely gifted footballer as well so the players really respond to her. The players are obviously excited to have her back and I'm sure she'll play a key role for us this season," Crowley added.

"We've been working on a few things with Leanne (Kiernan), she's an exciting prospect. She has a few things she needs to work on, she's very talented but there is room for improvement there. I don't think she played as games as Shels would have liked last year with injury but we want her on the pitch as much as possible."

Opponents Peamount United have signed Republic of Ireland internationals Aine O'Gorman, Karen Duggan and Claire Walsh since finishing second in the league last season. A difficult opening test but Crowley is relishing the prospect.

"It's a major test for us. Peamount are probably favourites for the league this season considering the strong season they had last year and the signings they've made since then," he said.

"They would certainly be hoping to push on this year but look, we're really excited to play this game and see where we're at. You only really know where you are after you play games like this and I'm sure the players are ready for the challenge."

Fixtures

Saturday, 17th March
Shelbourne Ladies v Peamount United, FAI National Training Centre, 12pm

Sunday, 18th March
Cork City Women’s FC v Limerick, CIT, 2pm
Kilkenny United v Wexford Youths, The Watershed, 2pm
UCD Waves v Galway Women’s FC, Jackson Park, 2pm

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