United women lose McGuinness to England

Phil Trill's cup winning Galway United Women resume Premier Division action on Saturday when they entertain Cork City at Saturday in Eamonn Deacy Park (5pm ).

After a prolonged mid-season break to accommodate the league’s World Cup stars, United have a chance to carry their astonishing form from the Avenir Sports All-Island Cup into the league.

They will face into the rest of the season without the services of stand-out performer Gemma McGuinness, whose departure for AFC Bournemouth was confirmed this week. The accomplished forward, who joined in the off-season from Sligo Rovers, played a pivotal part in their cup campaign. Her experience and guile will be sorely missed for the rest of the season.

McGuinness joined United from Sligo Rovers in January 2023 and made her debut in Galway United’s opening game in the Women’s Premier Division against Wexford Youths.

During her time, she contributed five goals in 16 appearances in all competitions, most memorably scoring that goal in the cup final against Cliftonville to win Galway United’s first senior trophy in 25 years.

Saturday’s opponents will likely provide a stern test. They also found some form in the All-Island Cup and belied their lowly league position with a run to the semi-finals. When the sides met earlier in the season in Turners Cross, it took a last-minute strike from Jenna Slattery to separate the sides. Nevertheless, Cork sit last in the table, and three points has to be the aim for United.

Despite McGuinness’s departure, the side has been bolstered by the return of some key performers, including the arrival of Aislinn Meaney who has provided a focal point in attack.

The mid-season competition allowed United to develop a settled side that gets plenty of impact from the bench. They will hope to have too much firepower for their visitors, who have yet to register a win in the league.

Only seven games remain in the league, and United’s target will be to finish as high as possible. While there is little ceiling on this side in the medium-term, realistically their first target will be to reel in Bohemians in fourth and fend off Wexford in sixth.

The FAI Cup will also provide another opportunity for a team that has proved a match for any in the land when they face Athlone on Saturday week. Before that, Saturday’s game offers a rare opportunity for the Galway football family to welcome back a team that has captured national honours.

 

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