Match Preview: WNL: Rovers host Shelbourne on Saturday

The first live televised game of the 2022 Women’s National League season will see the TG 4 cameras at the Showgrounds on Saturday evening where the home supporters who attended Thursday night’s Europa Conference League game will gain free admission as a ‘thank you’ gesture from Sligo Rovers.

And Bit O’Red manager Steve Feeney will be urging his players to draw some inspiration from the feat of the men’s team who belied their underdog status to record a 2-0 victory over SPL side Motherwell when his team tackle champions Shelbourne.

Feeney has every reason to believe his team can pose some major problems for defending champions Shelbourne and manager Noel King.

Last May, the defending champions had to wait until the 91st minute for the breakthrough goal from substitute Caoimhe Keenan in what was an absorbing WNL game at Tolka Park.

On that occasion it was only a fifth senior outing for the newest team in the WNL and while Sligo Rovers have only won twice more on the pitch since then, one of those was against high-flying Wexford at the Showgrounds.

Last Saturday Sligo Rovers lost away to Galway after showing some good first-half form to lead twice and go in level at the break (2-2).

However, Galway upped the tempo in the second-half and added three more goals for a comfortable 5-2 victory and that is an issue that Feeney admitted his players need to address.

“We were good, we were competitive against Galway in the first-half, but we were over-run in the second-half and that’s something we need to avoid now when we tackle Shelbourne,” stated Feeney.

“It’s a big game for us, last season we were all watching these types of games on the television, now we have a chance to be involved with the game live on TG 4, a great opportunity for the players.

“We know it will be tough, but we also know that we can make it difficult for Shelbourne, we know that we can score goals, if we can play to our best, then we have a chance,” he added.

Feeney confirmed that both Emma Hansberry and Amy Hyndman are doubtful while Kristen Sample is also sidelined.

For Shelbourne, they go into the game after failing to win in their last two outings and also failing to score from play.

They needed a 93rd minute penalty to earn a draw with Athlone Town last Saturday at Tolka Park and midweek were held to a scoreless draw against Dublin neighbours Bohemian FC.

Manager King will view this trip to the Showgrounds as an ideal opportunity for his side to get back amongst the goals and to tighten their grip on retaining the title as the WNL season heads towards the home straight.


Shelbourne 1

Sligo Rovers 0