Women's National League (Ireland)

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Women's National League
WNL logo.png
Country  Ireland
Confederation UEFA
Founded 2011
Number of teams 7
Level on pyramid 1
Domestic cup(s) FAI Women's Cup
International cup(s) UEFA Champions League
Current champions Shelbourne Ladies
(2016)
Most championships Wexford Youths (2)
Raheny United (2)
Website WNL.FAI.ie
2017 season

The Women's National League (WNL) (Irish: Sraith Náisiúnta na mBan; known as the Continental Tyres Women's National League for sponsorship reasons) is the top level league for women's association football in the Republic of Ireland. It is organised by the Football Association of Ireland and the Women's Football Association of Ireland. The FAI/WFAI previously organised a women's national league known as the Ladies League of Ireland or the Woman's League of Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s. The current league was founded in 2011 [1] and the inaugural winners were Peamount United.[2] The winners qualify for the UEFA Women's Champions League.[3]

History[edit]

Ladies League of Ireland[edit]

The FAI/WFAI first organised a women's national league in 1973. It was known as the Ladies League of Ireland or the Woman's League of Ireland. Twelve teams were originally invited to participate. These included several teams associated with clubs in the men's League of Ireland such as Dundalk, Finn Harps, Cork Celtic, Limerick and Sligo Rovers. Others included Benfica, Evergreen (Kilkenny), Avengers (Dublin), Cahir Park (Tipperary) and three teams from Galway – Beejays, Happy Wanderers and Wasps. The league started in March 1973 and teams played thirty five minute halves.[4][5] As the league got started, there were some changes and dropouts. Cahir Park defeated Elms United, a fourth team from Galway, 1–0 at West Park, Galway, in the very first Ladies League of Ireland game on Sunday, March 4, 1973.[6] Evergreen (Kilkenny) withdrew after losing their first three games,[7] although a Kilkenny team did compete in the 1974 season.[8] Benfica played an away game at Finn Harps as part of a double header before a 1972–73 League of Ireland game between Finn Harps and Waterford.[9] Limerick finished the 1973 season as champions after going unbeaten in a fifteen match series. In a post season friendly they lost 3–1 to a touring Stade de Rheims at Markets Field.[10]

By 1979 the Ladies League of Ireland featured seven teams with approximately 120 active players.[11] The original Ladies League of Ireland subsequently went into demise but was relaunched in April 1987. This time its members included Cork Rangers, Cork Celtic, Benfica, Greenpark (Limerick) and Dublin Castle and games featured forty minute halves.[12][13][14] Eamonn Darcy, a former manager of the Republic of Ireland women's national football team, served as vice-president of the league.[15] The revived league was sponsored by Hotpoint and Cork Rangers were the 1987 champions.[16] Dublin Castle were the 1988 champions after defeating Greenpark (Limerick) 3–1 in a play-off.[17] However the revived Ladies League of Ireland lasted just three seasons and was abandoned in 1989.[18]

In 1996 there was a third unsuccessful attempt to launch a Ladies League of Ireland.[19][20] Proposed members included a Mayo Ladies League representative team [21] and Longford Strikers.[22] During the 1990s and 2000s, in the absence of an official national league, the Dublin Women's Soccer League developed into a de facto national league.[23] The Women's Soccer Colleges Association of Ireland (WSCAI) also organised a national league featuring women's teams representing universities and third level colleges from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.[24] Both of these leagues featured future members of the Women's National League. Peamount United, Raheny United, Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne Ladies were all members of the DWSL while UCD fielded teams in both leagues.

Women's National League[edit]

The current Women's National League was formed in 2011–12. Originally seven clubs were invited to join the league. These included Peamount United, Castlebar Celtic, Cork Women's F.C., Raheny United, Shamrock Rovers, Wexford Youths and Bray Wanderers/St. Joseph's.[1][3] The league was launched with financial support from UEFA.[25] Twenty-six clubs had originally applied to join the league before the final seven were chosen. However, due to a lack of playing resources, Bray Wanderers/St Joseph's had to withdraw before the season started.[26] Peamount United were the inaugural league champions, finishing three points clear of second placed Raheny United. Peamount United also completed a league double by winning the WNL Cup, defeating Shamrock Rovers 1–0 in the final.[2] The following two seasons, 2012–13 and 2013–14, saw Raheny United finish as league champions.[27][28] The league received international publicity in October 2013 when Stephanie Roche scored an acclaimed goal for Peamount United against Wexford Youths which subsequently went viral on YouTube.[29][30] Footage of the goal was uploaded to the internet by team manager Eileen Gleeson as the matches were not televised.[31] Together with James Rodríguez and Robin van Persie, Roche was subsequently nominated for the 2014 FIFA Puskás Award. At the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or awards ceremony on 12 January 2015, Roche finished second to Rodríguez [32] with 33% of the vote. In 2014–15 Wexford Youths were league champions and [33] in 2015–16 they retained the title after defeating Shelbourne Ladies in a play-off.[34]

2017: New structure[edit]

In 2016 a shortened season was played from August to December where each team played 14 matches.[35] Beginning in 2017 the league will be restructured into a summer league and a possible new team from Sligo is in the talks too.[36]

Expansions, Name Changes and Withdrawals[edit]

DLR Waves joined the league in 2012–13 [37] and Galway W.F.C. were added for the 2013–14 season.[38] Before the 2014–15 season Cork Women's F.C. were taken over by FORAS/Cork City F.C. and as a result were renamed Cork City W.F.C..[39] It was also announced that DLR Waves and UCD's senior women's team would join forces and become known as UCD Waves.[40] Shamrock Rovers also withdrew from the league, leaving seven teams to play each other.[41] In January 2015 the FAI sent out invitations to clubs in an effort to expand the league.[42] This resulted in Kilkenny United W.F.C. joining the league for the 2015–16 season.[43] In 2015 the senior women's team at Raheny United merged with Shelbourne Ladies. This effectively saw Shelbourne Ladies takeover Raheny United's place in the league.[44] Before the 2015–16 season was finished Castlebar Celtic withdrew from league because they were unable to field a team.[45][46]

2017 teams[edit]

Team Home town/suburb Stadium
Cork City W.F.C. Cork Bishopstown Stadium
Galway W.F.C. Galway Eamonn Deacy Park
Kilkenny United W.F.C. Kilkenny The Watershed
Peamount United Newcastle, South Dublin Greenogue
Shelbourne Ladies Santry Morton Stadium
UCD Waves Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown Jackson Park
Wexford Youths Crossabeg Ferrycarrig Park


Sponsorship[edit]

Between 2011–12 and the end of the 2013–14 season the league was sponsored by Bus Éireann. On 20 August 2014, at the Aviva Stadium, Continental Tyres were unveiled as the new title sponsor of the Women's National League and FAI Women's Cup, as part of a wider sponsorship deal for women's association football in the Republic of Ireland.[47][48]

Champions[edit]

Year Winner Runners-up Third place Top scorer Goals
2011–12 Peamount United Raheny United Cork Women's F.C. Stephanie Roche (Peamount United) 24[49]
2012–13 Raheny United Peamount United Wexford Youths Sara Lawlor (Peamount United) 28[50]
2013–14 Raheny United Peamount United Wexford Youths Stephanie Roche (Peamount United) [51][52]
2014–15 Wexford Youths UCD Waves Raheny United Aine O'Gorman (UCD Waves) 25[53]
2015–16 Wexford Youths Shelbourne Ladies UCD Waves Aine O'Gorman (UCD Waves) 17 [54]
2016 Shelbourne Ladies UCD Waves Peamount United Amber Barrett (Peamount United) 16[55]

Related competitions[edit]

WNL Cup[edit]

Year Winner Result Runner-up Venue
2011–12 Peamount United 1–0 [2] Shamrock Rovers Tallaght Stadium
2012–13 Peamount United 6–3 [56] Castlebar Celtic Milebush Park, Castlebar
2013–14 Wexford Youths 3–0 [57] Castlebar Celtic Ferrycarrig Park[58]
2014–15 Raheny United 3–2 [59]
(a.e.t.)
Peamount United Tolka Park
2015–16 Shelbourne Ladies 3–2 [60] UCD Waves Richmond Park

WNL Shield[edit]

Year Winner Result Runner-up Venue
2015–16 Wexford Youths 1–0 [61] Shelbourne Ladies Ferrycarrig Park

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "FAI announce new Women's League". RTÉ Sport. 3 August 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Peamount are crowned Bus Eireann Women's League Cup Final Winners". wnl.fai.ie. 6 May 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Irish women's league to launch". www.uefa.com. 3 August 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "League of Ireland for Kilkenny". Kilkenny People. 16 February 1973. p. 15. 
  5. ^ "Ladies Soccer". Munster Express. 6 July 1973. p. 19. 
  6. ^ "Elms United Unlucky To Lose". Connacht Tribune. 9 March 1973. p. 11. 
  7. ^ "Ladies Win Well". Connacht Tribune. 23 April 1973. p. 11. 
  8. ^ "Soccer crown for Kilkenny". Kilkenny People. 24 May 1974. p. 20. 
  9. ^ "Ladies First". Munster Express. 6 April 1973. p. 21. 
  10. ^ "Limerick ladies suffer defeat". Irish Examiner. 22 August 1973. p. 12. 
  11. ^ "How About Ladies Soccer?". Kilkenny People. 2 November 1979. p. 18. 
  12. ^ "League of Ireland for Mitsuibishi Benfica". Munster Express. 13 March 1987. p. 26. 
  13. ^ "Benfica Share The Points". Munster Express. 29 April 1988. p. 12. 
  14. ^ "Ladies Soccer". Irish Independent. 12 June 1987. p. 10. 
  15. ^ "Woman's League of Ireland". Irish Press. 9 April 1987. p. 18. 
  16. ^ "Hotpoint Women's League of Ireland". Munster Express. 27 May 1988. p. 19. 
  17. ^ "Ladies Soccer" (PDF). www.limerickcity.ie. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  18. ^ "Cup Final Showdown for Benfica". Munster Express. 8 September 1989. p. 18. 
  19. ^ "Ladies League of Ireland". Munster Express. 8 March 1996. p. 9. 
  20. ^ "Ladies League of Ireland". The Anglo-Celt. 14 March 1996. p. 24. 
  21. ^ "Mayo girls soccer squad mooted". The Connaught Telegraph. 15 November 1995. p. 27. 
  22. ^ "Longford Strikers Ladies Soccer Club". Longford Leader. 2 June 1995. p. 23. 
  23. ^ Fan Hong, J. A. Mangan (2004). Soccer, Women, Sexual Liberation: Kicking Off a New Era. Frank Cass Publishers. 
  24. ^ "Women's Soccer Colleges Association of Ireland". www.thirdlevelfootball.ie. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  25. ^ "UEFA funding helps women's national football league launch in Republic of Ireland". UEFA. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  26. ^ "Women's league set to kick off in style". www.irishexaminer.com. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  27. ^ "Raheny United claim Women's National League title (2012-2013)". rte.ie. 12 May 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  28. ^ "Raheny United claim Women's National League title (2013-2014)". rte.ie. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  29. ^ "Today on YouTube: Stephanie Roche scores goal of the season contender for Peamount United". The Daily Telegraph. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  30. ^ Kelly, Rory (21 October 2013). "Stephanie Roche Goal – The World Reacts – Passes 1 million views". ExtraTime.ie. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  31. ^ "Stephanie Roche talks us through her wonder strike". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  32. ^ "Stephanie Roche misses out on Puskas Award but scores red carpet hit at the FIFA Ballon D'Or ceremony". evoke.ie. 12 January 2015. 
  33. ^ "Wexford claim WNL title". wnl.fai.ie. 28 March 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  34. ^ "WNL Play-Off Report: Shelbourne Ladies 1–2 Wexford Youths Women". www.extratime.ie. 22 May 2016. 
  35. ^ http://wnl.fai.ie/news/614-wnl-set-to-kick-off.html
  36. ^ https://oceanfm.ie/2016/07/20/fai-unveil-2016-wnl-fixtures-and-confirm-northwest-team-still-in-the-plans-for-2017/
  37. ^ "Bus Eireann WNL Launch 2012/13". wnl.fai.ie. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  38. ^ Kelly, Keith (13 June 2013). "Galway women come together to form new National League side". Connacht Tribune. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  39. ^ "Cork Women's FC to re-launch". Supporters Direct. 9 June 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  40. ^ "About UCD Waves FC". ucdwaves.ie. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  41. ^ "Fixtures 2014-15 announced". wnl.fai.ie. 28 July 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  42. ^ "FAI seeks National League Newcomers". shekicks.net. 27 January 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  43. ^ "Kilkenny United join WNL". wnl.fai.ie. 3 July 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  44. ^ "Rahney United & Shelbourne Ladies merge". Football Association of Ireland. 19 June 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  45. ^ "Castlebar Celtic withdraw from WNL". wnl.fai.ie. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  46. ^ "Castlebar Celtic withdraw from Continental Tyres WNL". www.fai.ie. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  47. ^ "Bus Éireann announced as sponsor of Women's National League". FAI.ie. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  48. ^ "Women's Soccer Secures Continental Backing". Sport for Business. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  49. ^ 2011-12 stats at wnl.fai.ie
  50. ^ "Season Statistics". Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  51. ^ "Dash sign Irish int'l forward Stephanie Roche". National Women's Soccer League. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  52. ^ Heigh, Rob (8 May 2014). "Russell nets player award". Dublin Gazette Newspapers. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  53. ^ Hooper, Dave (30 April 2015). "UCD Waves guarantee second spot". Football Association of Ireland. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  54. ^ "2015/16 Continental Tyres WNL Awards winners unveiled". www.fai.ie. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  55. ^ "ROUND-UP: Shels Finish Unbeaten, Wins for UCD and Wexford". wnl.fai.ie. 5 December 2016. Barrett’s strike was her 16th of the season and seals the golden boot award. 
  56. ^ "Peamount retain League Cup title". shekicks.net. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  57. ^ "Wexford win first trophy". She Kicks. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  58. ^ "Wexford Youths 3–0 Castlebar Celtic". extratime.ie. 18 May 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  59. ^ "Extra-time triumph for Raheny United in women's league cup final". www.irishtimes.com. 26 April 2015. 
  60. ^ "Shelbourne Ladies win Continental Tyres WNL Cup". www.fai.ie. 15 May 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  61. ^ "Wexford edge Shels in WNL Shield Final". wnl.fai.ie. 30 March 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 

External links[edit]