Castlebar Celtic v Wexford Youths Women's AFC, Celtic Park, Saturday, 7pm
After last week’s opening fixture against Raheny United was postponed, Castlebar Celtic will look to get off to a winning start at home to Wexford Youths on Saturday night in the Continental Tyres Women’s National League.
These sides had several thrilling encounters last term and the Model County side beat their Mayo counterparts in the WNL League Cup Final in May.
Celtic are likely to be without Shauna Jackson and Catherine Sullivan while Emma Curley has GAA commitments so is doubtful. New signings have arrived in Jess Nolan, Katie Melly, Orla Devaney and Amber Lynch and they are set to make their debuts.
Castlebar coach Adrian Carberry said: "Wexford are a very strong side and it’ll be interesting to see what they are like this season. The change of manager with John Flood leaving is a big loss to the league. It's always tough between the two teams and whoever scores first has a great chance.
“It's a great opportunity to get up and running. We are always looking to introduce new players to this level and will hopefully be stronger in a couple of weeks."
Wexford coach Willie Doyle was pleased with a hard-earned victory over Cork City Women’s FC last week. Nikki Dunphy is unavailable this week.
"Cork were very hard to break down last week. They've really improved. We have to ask questions of ourselves to see if we can step up our performance,” said Doyle.
“We haven't seen Castlebar play yet but they're always hard to beat. They're well organised and at home they are strong.”
Galway WFC v Peamount United, Eamonn Deacy Park, Sunday, 2pm
Galway WFC will look to get off to winning ways in their opening home game of the season when they host Peamount United, who will be playing their first game of the new campaign having been idle last week.
Don O'Riordan will be looking to build on a solid if unsuccessful opening day performance against title contenders UCD Waves last weekend. Lynsey McKey, Lisa Casserly and Marie Curtin are all in contention for starts.
"The girls performed quite well until we conceded the first goal last week. It was a tough workout but it’s a learning curve for everybody including myself. I'd seen videos of our opponents but when you are there physically watching a very good team like UCD you get an idea of what is required in this league,” said O’Riordan.
“We've talked about what we have to do to match that. We've got another tough game against Peamount and hopefully we'll be at full strength and we are facing an unknown quantity. It'll definitely be a tough game for us and I'm concentrating on playing well and playing like we did in pre-season. We weren't allowed do that last week but I want us to stand up and be counted and make it difficult.”
Peamount boss Robbie Mulligan will be looking to start the campaign with a positive display from his new-look side. Syliva Gee and Margaret Doyle have suspensions carried over from last year while Ciara Smith, Laura Traynor and Andrea Curley are doubts.
"We have a few injuries and suspensions but the players available are ready to go and are looking forward to playing. I saw Galway last week they'll be a tough opponent, Don has them well organised and I'm sure they'll be excited for their first home fixture but it is our first game of the season so we’re excited too,” said Mulligan.
“The goal for Peamount is to compete for titles year in year out but we'll take it game by game and hopefully we'll hit the ground running over the next few weeks.”
Cork City Women's FC v UCD Waves, Bishopstown, Sunday 2pm
Cork City Women’s FC produced a resilient display away to Wexford last week and will be looking for a similar performance against UCD Waves, who beat Galway WFC 3-0 in their opener.
The home side will be expecting the intensity to be raised from Eileen Gleeson’s experienced outfit but are determined to prove a tougher nut to crack this term.
City are likely to be without Chloe Ahern and Cara Murphy through injury while Stephanie Murphy is a doubt. Angie Carry returns from suspension but Eleanor Lucey is unavailable through work commitments.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the new UCD Waves team and hoping for a good crowd to support us in our first home game. It was a step in the right direction last week and we have to try to improve from that again but obviously UCD Waves are one of the most experienced teams in the country so it’ll be a challenge,” said Cork’s Chris O’Mahony.
Waves boss Eileen Gleeson has to plan without the suspended Julie-Ann Russell but will have the rest of her squad at full strength.
"It’s our first away trip so we’re focused for it. I was happy with the performance last week. We were solid defensively and were well worth the win,” said Gleeson.
“It was good to see Cork were more competitive last week and we're hoping it will be a tough test for us. Everybody in the league wants a competitive Cork City side.”
The draw for the 2014-15 Continental Tyres WNL League Cup quarter-finals has been made:
Cork City Women’s FC v Galway WFC
Raheny United v Castlebar Celtic
Wexford Youths v UCD Waves
Peamount United - bye
Ties to be played on Sunday, 14 September.