The 2014/15 Women’s National League season saw the league trophy leaving the Capital for the first time, as Wexford Youths were crowned deserved league champions. 2014/15 also saw Raheny United completing the cup double, collecting their first Women’s National League Cup, while retaining the FAI Cup for the third consecutive season after wins against Peamount United and UCD Waves respectably.
This past season has shown many positive developments with regards to the standard of ladies football within Ireland, for the first time since the league’s introduction in 2011 the title was contested by more than two sides, Wexford Youths, UCD Waves and Raheny United all fought tooth and nail to be crowned league champions.
Raheny United’s impact in the Women’s Champions League, making the last 32 stage of the competition as well as Stephanie Roche’s Puska Nomination saw the spotlight focused on the Women’s National League for a short period of time.
However while there was many positives from this year’s league campaign, although unfortunately many negative cracks appeared throughout the campaign.
At the end of the 2013/14 season a decision was taken by Shamrock Rovers to withdraw their women’s team from the Women’s national league this in turn saw the number of teams reducing from eight to seven.
Many people would consider this change to have a minimal effect, however it turned out to be detrimental to many teams throughout the season.
In 2015 it became very evident when sides such as Peamount United and UCD Waves both had a one month gap between games, due to fixtures being postponed, teams having a rest week (due to an odd number of sides) or the three international periods for a training camp in La Manga, the Istria Cup and the recent friendly against Spain.
Last February the FAI invited teams to submit an application to join the Women’s National League for the 2015/16 season, many people felt that the league is not ready for such expansion, and that more effort should be put into helping teams already in the league improve infrastructures both on and off the pitch before such an expansion takes place.
The 2015 season has highlighted this to be the case, Raheny United have been awarded a walk over from two fixtures this season against Castlebar Celtic, while this weekend they were also due to travel to Cork City for their final fixture of the season, a fixture that has now been called off due to Corks inability to field a team (the original fixture was postponed due to players attending the FAI awards ceremony).
With the cancellation of this weekend’s fixture between Cork and Raheny, many people would have thought Raheny United would have been happy about not having to travel to Cork due to their long season, but this was far from the truth as they had prepared adequately for the fixture in order to ensure they finished the season with the win.
The Pandas forward Katie McCabe was hoping that this weekend’s game would have allowed her an opportunity to leapfrog UCD Waves attacker Aine O’Gorman in the race for the Golden Boot.
Due to the fixture now not taking place, O’Gorman will be crowned the winner of the Golden boot by a single goal, unless the fixture is rearranged.
Please see below an official comment from the FAI regarding this weekend’s cancelled fixture.
“The Cork City Versus Raheny United result will adjudicated on by the FAI Disciplinary Committee on Wednesday, 6th May.”
Aaron has been a mainstay in our WNL coverage this season and can be contacted on twitter @aaron_c91