United Women face tantalising tie vs champions Peamount

Galway United’s Julie Ann Russell goes on the attack as her side beat Glentoran 4-0 in the Women’s All Island Cup. United face champions Peamount in the Women's Premiership Division this Saturday at 5pm. (Photo: Mike Shaughnessy)

Galway United’s Julie Ann Russell goes on the attack as her side beat Glentoran 4-0 in the Women’s All Island Cup. United face champions Peamount in the Women's Premiership Division this Saturday at 5pm. (Photo: Mike Shaughnessy)

Galway United Women face a litmus test of their credentials this Saturday, when they travel to take on Peamount United in a mouth-watering SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division tie (kick-off 5pm ).

United have blazed a trail in all competitions, winning 6 from 6, scoring 20 and conceding just 2. They have kept five clean sheets during that remarkable run.

Undoubtedly this game, away to last year’s champions, represents United’s greatest test to date. Peamount have had a stuttering start to their campaign, but gave a reminder of their quality with a 6-0 win over Lisburn last Sunday.

In the league, Peamount have won two and lost two but have endured a very difficult run of games. There is undoubted quality in their ranks. Erin McLaughlin has four goals so far. Captain Karen Duggan hadn’t missed a minute of action prior to Sunday. They have retained a core of last year’s successful group with Lauryn O’ Callaghan, Jetta Berrill, Dearbhaile Beirne and Ciara Maher virtually ever-present.

For their part, United will have been delighted to seal their passage in the Avenir Sports All-Island Cup with a 4-0 win at home to Glentoran. Kate Thompson gave the Galway girls a great start with a strike in the first ten minutes.

Yet despite being on top in the game, it wasn’t until the last ten minutes that the flood gates opened and United scored a further three to pad out the scoreline. Inevitably, Jenna Slattery was among the goalscorers, along with Eve Dossen and a Glentoran own goal.

Phil Trill elected not to make wholesale changes to a winning formula for this game. Lucy Jane Gran, Jodie Griffin and Aislinn Meaney all came in for their second starts of the campaign. The return of Meaney could be particularly significant, with the striker having missed a month of football after the season opener. She provides another dynamic option in attack.

The midfield is an area of particular strength. The diamond formation of Isabella Beletic, Kate Thompson, Jenna Slattery and Lynsey McKey is well-established as one of the strongest and most skilful combinations in the league. There are great options to complement this with Julie-Ann Russell, Rola Olusola and Emily Kavanaugh all proving their potency going forward.

At the back, ’keeper Jessica Berlin continues to reinforce her moniker as ‘The Berlin Wall’. She has been ably guarded by Jamie Erickson and Eve Dossen whose dominance has also shone in the attacking box where they have both scored. Full-backs Therese Kinnevey and Aoibheann Costello are paramount to the team’s success. They run all day and provide no little quality.

All of this is to say nothing of the increased competition within the squad. Roisín Jacob, Abbie Callanan, Maria O’ Sullivan and teenagers Emma Duffy and Heather Loomes, amongst others, have all contributed handsomely.

It will require a squad effort if they are to sustain a tilt at the top. Saturday evening might be instructive as to how this may shape up.

It is already evident however, that women’s football in Galway is on an exciting upward curve.

 

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