Match Preview: Rovers Women travel to Galway tomorrow

Sligo Rovers make the trip to Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow for a Women’s National League (WNL) game against a Galway side that is five points adrift of second-placed Athlone Town.

That is a position the Galway players will be aiming to improve on that when they welcome their Connacht neighbours for the first time in the WNL game.

However, Galway will adopt a cautious approach as they had to work hard for a 2-1 victory at the Showgrounds at the beginning of May, despite enjoying periods of dominance.

Galway trailed to an early Emma Doherty strike and only got back on level terms in first-half added time when Becky Walsh found the net.

Galway added a second after the resumption when Shauna Brennan hit the target and that ultimately proved to be the winning goal.

In her efforts to save that effort, Bit O’Red ‘keeper Kristen Sample sustained a broken arm that has kept her on the sidelines since then.

Mayo teenager Amy Mahon deputised on that occasion, but she was absent last weekend for the Bit O’Red and that gave another talented shot-stopper, Farah McDonagh, an opportunity between the posts against the formidable force that is Athlone Town.

Sligo Rovers also hit the front in that game when Gemma McGuinness finished after Emma Doherty made the opening and Galway will have to be vigilant against the threat that the Bit O’Red duo will pose.

Athlone got back on level terms in the first-half, but had to wait until the 86th minute for a winner.

Sligo Rovers manager Steve Feeney was disappointed by the concession of that late goal, but was also full of praise

for the performance of his team.

“You have to remember that we are in our first season in the WNL and it’s a huge learning curve for everyone,” he commented.

“Experience is hugely important and we are getting that every week, I have no doubt that the players will continue to improve.

“We have to keep working on all aspects of our game, get fitter, get stronger, we can do that, but it just takes time.

“The supporters can see the determination of the players and it won’t take too much longer before we are in a position to start turning narrow defeats into narrow victories.

“We have Galway next and that will be another big test, they were very good against us in the second-half here, but this is another opportunity for the players to show what they can do and we are all looking forward to the game,” he added.

For Galway manager, Alan Murphy, this is another must-win game to stay in touch with the top four.

Dumped out of the FAI Cup a fortnight ago at Dalymount Park, Galway bounced back to winning form with a comprehensive 5-1 victory against Cork City last weekend.

 An own goal by City defender Ciara McNamara after only 60 seconds had Galway on the front foot and two more followed in a rewarding eight-minute spell for a 3-0 advantage. Bryce Reynolds and Jamie Erickson were the scorers.

Laura Shine pulled one back for Cork six minutes into the second-half, but Galway reacted positively and Lynsey McKey claimed a brace to round off a 5-1 victory.

Central to Galway’s dominance was the performance of Julie-Ann Russell, sister of John Russell, the manager of the Sligo Rovers men’s team. 

Russell was also a key performer for Galway in the first-round encounter at the Showgrounds and her performance could be crucial to the outcome of this encounter.


Sligo Rovers 1, Galway 2


Sligo Rovers – Kristen Sample; Leah Kelly, Orna O’Dowd, Gemma McGuinness, Lauren Boles, Emma Doherty, Aoife Brennan, Amy Roddy, Kerri O’Hara, Paula McGrory, Sarah Kiernan. Subs – Fiona Doherty for Brennan 56 mins, Amy Mahon for Sample 60m, Helen Monaghan for O’Hara and Katie Melly for Kelly both 70m.

Galway WFC – Abbiegayle Ronayne; Becky Walsh, Emma Starr, Shauna Brennan, Chloe Singleton, Julie Ann Russell, Jenna Slattery, Lynsey McKee, Therese Kinnevey, Jamie Erickson, Kate Thompson. Subs – Lauryn Gamache for Slattery 83 mins, Aoife Thompson for McKee and Taylor Rutland Singleton both 89m, Nicole McNamara for Thompson 97m.