Excitement for Galway United Women ahead of season opener away to highflying Athlone

Galway United manager Phill Trill, right, in conversation with Lynsey McKey of Galway United at the launch of the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland 2024 season held at Vicar Street in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Galway United manager Phill Trill, right, in conversation with Lynsey McKey of Galway United at the launch of the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland 2024 season held at Vicar Street in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Galway United Women brought the curtain down on their pre-season campaign with a creditable draw against Wexford in Maree last Saturday evening.

A late equaliser from Therese Kinnevey meant the Tribeswomen finished their short calendar of games undefeated.

A strong side took the field in a dress rehearsal for Saturday’s game away to Athlone Town. Kate Thompson went close with a header to break the deadlock but was denied by a fine save.

Wexford went ahead through impressive fullback Abby Tuthill on the hour mark. A corner from Lynsey McKey provided the chance for Kinnevey to score a late leveller.

A week previous, Phil Trill’s side had recorded a positive result in their preseason preparations, defeating Treaty United 2-1 last Saturday in Markets Field.

Jenna Slattery returned to her native county and did the damage, netting both goals in an assured display. Slattery had her side 1-0 up inside the second minute and slotted a second half-penalty to maintain the positive momentum for her side.

United’s friendly before that had been cut short due to an unfortunate injury to former Galway WFC star Savannah McCarthy. The Shamrock Rovers defender, who had missed almost the entirety of the 2022 campaign due to an injury that cost her a chance to travel to the World Cup in Australia, suffered more bad fortune in Moyne Villa with her side trailing 1-0 to a Rola Olusola goal.

Shamrock Rovers have subsequently announced that McCarthy underwent a successful operation on her ankle.

The news for United was more positive as they announced a host of signings in recent weeks.

Full-back Aoibheann Costello re-committed herself to the club after an impressive 2023 campaign. Costello tasted action in league and cup last season and starred in the famous Avenir All-Island Cup Final in Sligo.

There were new additions also. Particularly eye-catching was the announcement of the signing of Emily Kavanaugh. The Virginia native operates up front and brings a strong pedigree, having played for Temple University and being named in the All-Conference team for the American Athletic Conference.

The club also announced the signing of Lucy Jayne Grant from Athlone Town last week. The Cavan native joins United having come through the underage ranks with the Midlanders. She made 10 appearances for the senior team last season and was entrusted with a start against Wexford.

Just this week, American goalkeeper Kaylee Hammer was signed. Hammer has impressive collegiate experience, having played for the University of Alabama and University of Kennesaw. The Memphis native will provide competition for compatriot Jessica Berlin who had an impressive season in 2023.

Although the squad’s focus will be on their league opener against away to Athlone on Saturday, there was further news in the past week that United had drawn Sligo Rovers, Athlone Town and Glentoran for the group stages of their defence of the Avenir All-Island Cup.

It will need to be a special season to surpass the emotion of last year. The club will be eager that home attendances improve at these games to build the sustainability of the women’s team. On the field, it will be difficult to improve on a fourth place finish given the strength of the top sides, but there seems to be no lack of ambition in the group.

 

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