Match Preview: Rovers host Galway on Saturday afternoon in WNL

“We have six games left, starting with the visit of Galway, and we have to try to start picking up some points,” stated Sligo Rovers manager Steve Feeney ahead of the third Connacht Derby of the season as Galway visit the Showgrounds for the Women’s National League (WNL) on Saturday, 2pm.

The WNL action resumes after a memorable international break that saw the Republic of Ireland women qualify for the 2023 World Cup play-offs with wins over Finland and Slovakia.

The last time the Connacht neighbours met they delivered seven goals at Eamonn Deacy Park as Galway won 5-2 after a tight first-half that saw the teams’ level at the interval after sharing four goals.

However, Galway upped the tempo sufficiently in the second-half to seal a 5-2 victory with a stand-out performance from Julie Ann Russell.

It all started well for the Bit O’Red with a goal inside four minutes from Gemma McGuinness,
but Galway were back on terms in the eighth minute from Bryce Reynolds.

The Bit O’Red forged ahead again when Gemma McGuinness picked out Emma Doherty at the far post in the 33rd minute, but once more Galway found a response and were back on terms in the 38th minute when Ellie O’Flaherty netted.

Shauna Brennan grabbed a 51st minute lead goal for Galway to and midway through half Jamie Erickson headed a fourth before Becky Walsh found the net to wrap up the 5-2 victory.

Two weeks ago, Sligo Rovers took the lead against Athlone Town, but were over-run subsequently and despite a spirited display the hosts won by 4-2 with a late fourth goal adding an extra bit of gloss.

And that’s an issue Bit O’Red manager Steve Feeney will be aiming to address as the season enters the home straight with only six games remaining.

If Feeney can get a more consistent performance from his players over 90 minutes, then they certainly have a realistic chance of taking something from the game.

“I can identify areas where we have to improve, we have conceded too many easy goals this season and if we can address that, then we will start picking up points again,” commented the Bit O’Red manager.

“We know how good we can be, it’s a matter of bringing that form into our remaining games,” he added.

The Sligo players have the ability to find that improvement and they will certainly be well-motivated for the visit of a Galway side that is comfortably in fifth position, but 15 points adrift of leaders Shelbourne.

The Galway women know all about Shelbourne as they lost (1-2) at home against the Dubliners two weeks ago after they missed the opportunity to close the gap on the top four.

Shelbourne took the lead in that game from a 36th minute penalty and added a second goal with about 25 minutes remaining.

Galway struck back in the 73rd minute from a Bryce Reynolds header, but the Dublin side held on for what was an important victory.

Galway manager Alan Murphy will be targeting a return to winning form for his side ahead of an away trip to Cork the following weekend, but he will also be aware that it won’t be easy at the Showgrounds.