Women’s Leinster Division One preview by Jack McCann
Spectators at many of the Ladies Division One this coming weekend should be in for some treats, however, the game between UCD and Railway is definitely the eye-catcher.
UCD play host to Railway Union in a rematch of the Irish Senior Cup game two weeks ago in what is definitely the game of the weekend in Ladies Division One. The highest scorers in the division by a distance, UCD head into the game aiming to avenge that tightly contested silver goal extra-time loss from two weeks ago.They lost their 100% record last weekend when they were pegged back to a 4-4 draw by Hermes. As per usual, UCD have a plethora of talent available to them and they’ll be hoping that Nikki Evans and Anna O’Flanagan, joint top league goal scorers, can continue their prolific start to the season.
Railway come into the game, with the tightest defence in the league, having conceded only four goals thus far. Since their ISC victory over the students, Railway have beaten Trinity and Loreto in the League, but lost to Pegasus in the IHL in between. Railway will hope that their teenage midfield of Georgina Spillane and Emer Clarke can do a similar job in nullifying, to a certain extent, the big threats of Katie Mullan and Chloe Watkins.
Trinity play host to Loreto in Santry, hoping to avenge their 5-2 defeat at the hands of the same opponents earlier in the season. Trinity have drawn with Railway this season, this shows that on their day they can mix it with the best.
The additions of Jenny Long and Sarah Quill to go alongside the talent already in the squad like Anna May Whelan have meant that they are a better all-round unit. They haven’t scored a lot, only nine, however, they haven’t conceded a lot either and this is down to Carolyn Crampton in between the posts this season.
However, in Loreto they are coming up against a team who have threats from back to front. With Hannah Matthews, the centre back, their leading goal scorer with seven to date in all competitions. They enter the game having had a bad weekend last time out, losing in League and the IHL, both times by one-goal margins and to the top two teams in Leinster for the past couple of seasons. Having already beaten the students once, they’ll hope for much of the same and so far this season Trinity appear to do better away from home.
Corinthian meet Old Alex in St Columba’s hoping to get a win that could potentially kick their season into gear and give them a better chance of climbing the table. Both sides have suffered badly through the departures of key players due to a myriad of reasons, however Alex have coped that bit better.
Corinthian don’t have a prolific striker having scored only two goals thus far this season, with both of them coming against North Kildare, the only team below them in the table. The reds face an Alex side hoping to extend their unbeaten streak to three games, after a draw and a win against Glenanne and North Kildare respectively. Alex will want to win this game to keep pace with the five teams above them and bridge the three point gap.
Hermes entertain a Glenanne side hoping to create more breathing space between themselves and the bottom two after two successive draws. They’ll be hoping that they can keep that defensive rigidity that earned them those draws, but that Claire Shillington, their top scorer, can add to her four goals this season and earn what would be only their second win in the league this season.
Hermes enter the game off the back of a fine come from behind 4-4 draw against UCD thanks to the goals of Catriona McGlip and Aisling Naughton. Naughton has contributed six goals so far in the league, only one less than the whole of the Glenanne team’s total number.
Pembroke face North Kildare at Serpentine Avenue, in a game that will enter with high hopes of winning and comfortably at that. Pembroke look to remain unbeaten at home for the third game in a row.
They are the fourth lowest scorers in the division but have the joint second best defensive record. North Kildare have yet to win this season, however, they’ll take confidence from their last game pushing Alex close in a 2-3 loss at home.