Wexford Youths WFC first up as Continental Tyres Women's National League returns
Wexford Youths WFC will begin the defence of their Continental Tyres Women's National League title against UCD Waves on Saturday, August 6 in Ferrycarrig Park.
The champions will kick off the new truncated season with the hope of making it three-in-a-row following their fantastic success in the last two years. But UCD will eyeing the League crown for themselves.
The two clubs will join five others - Cork City WFC, Galway WFC, Kilkenny United WFC, Peamount United, and Shelbourne Ladies - in a shortened season that starts this weekend and finishes in November to prepare for a new structure in 2017.
There was no shortage of drama last term as Wexford overcame Shelbourne in a first ever title play-off and captain Kylie Murphy believes this season can be just as exciting.
'It was fantastic for supporters to see the League go to a play-off game and we had a big crowd there who got to see just how good women's football is in this country,' said Murphy.
'There are a lot of strong teams in the League, so we will have to work hard to be in amongst it again. I think we just have to prepare as best as we can because when the games come around they will be tough tests.'
Wexford will be under the guidance of Gary Hunt for the new campaign, while there has been some notable signings made elsewhere with Seana Cooke checking in at Shelbourne, Dearbhaile Beirne switching to UCD, and Lisa Casserly joining Peamount.
With 194 goals scored last season, the League's reputation for quick, attacking football remained intact and new stars emerged, such as Cork's Saoirse Noonan, Galway's Chloe Maloney, and Kilkenny's Aislinn Carroll.
It is why Fran Gavin, FAI Director of Competitions, is looking forward to the games getting underway again.
'This is an exciting time for women's football in Ireland as we continue to move forward with the development of all aspects of the game and the Continental Tyres Women's National League acts as the foundation for that,' said Gavin.
'Continental Tyres have been fantastic sponsors for the League and they remain committed to the development of women's football we enter into a new season which provides a competitive platform for the clubs ahead of a move to a new set-up in 2017.
'The FAI remains in talks with an entity in the north west to join the League in 2017 and it points to a positive future as we have more international players than ever before competing in domestic fixtures. Last season showcased just how much quality there is in the League, so hopefully this new campaign is a repeat of that.'
Kickoff in Ferrycarrig Park is at 7.30pm.
Check out the superb new promotional video from Continental Tyres for this season - https://youtu.be/lqUpZqN6GPs