United women open first cup competition against familiar foes

Galway United Women host Athlone Town in their first home game of the Avenir Sports All-Island Cup in Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday (5pm ).

United will aim to build on the positive result they enjoyed in Linfield, emerging 1-0 winners from Midgley Park.

A Lynsey McKey outswinger almost provided United with an early lead, the attacking header from Kate Thompson flew just wide.

The early goal did come, however, courtesy of a Jenna Slattery wonder-strike in the fifth minute. The league's player-of-the-month for April pounced on a loose ball 25 yards from goal and curled a sweet shot to the corner of the net that left the Linfield stopper rooted to the spot.

Abbiegayle Ronayne had to be alert later in the half to preserve the lead, she proved equal to an ambitious effort from the edge of the box. Free-kick specialist Slattery also had a decent effort stopped at the other end.

Linfield did have the ball in the back of the net when Mia Fitzsimmons stole through and finished well, but she had not beaten the offside trap and United survived the scare.

The chance of the game came in the second when Slaterry slid a peach of a pass through to McKey. Lauren Currie scampered brilliantly from her line and made a smart low save to deny McKey.

Attention will quickly turn to the tie against Athlone Town which gives United a real chance to progress in the competition. On paper, the teams look well matched as United and Athlone lie fifth and seventh respectively in the league.

However, Athlone have failed to progress from an impressive season last year and will be keen to target this competition. Having lost 4-1 at home to Shelbourne last time out, they have little margin for error, and with former Galway players Chloe Singleton and Shauna Brennan in their ranks, they will be eager to prove a point in Terryland.

United will be keen to progress and add to the feel-good factor surrounding the team which was further enhanced this week by Kate Thompson's nomination for Ireland U19 Player of the Year.

Thompson's focus remained on her club season, she says.

"Galway have supported me really well. It's been a really good change from last year. I think we started off the season really well. Over the last couple of games we had a bit of a low, but I think we are getting back to ourselves now'.

There are plenty of positives swirling around women's soccer locally, domestically and nationally. A win on Saturday would provide the team with more opportunities to develop and compete at the top with the best.


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