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The Greatest LOI Wrap Up In The World: Women's Opportunity, New Clubs, & International Exploits

The Greatest LOI Wrap Up In The World: Women's Opportunity, New Clubs, & International Exploits
By John Dodge

Week 18 saw the second international break for the Premier Division, first international break for the First Division (suggesting it wasn't an international break at all) and no break for the Women's National League.

So we don't have much football to talk about, but we do have some stuff to talk about. Let’s get on with it.

The Women had the place to themselves

The media spotlight was on the men's national team of course, with the under 21s getting a decent slice of coverage too. Shame though that the women's league didn't throw up any marquee match-ups that could have been pushed with no LOI games to cover.

In the actual football, Shels finally conceded and could only draw 1-1 at home to Galway. Peamount thrashed Cork while DLR Waves and Athlone Town got back to winning ways. Performance of the week goes to Sligo Rovers who beat Wexford Youths 1-0 thanks in no small part to an injury time penalty save by Sligo keeper Amy Mahon.

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New clubs are on the way

We've already reported on Kerry FC's first steps to becoming a senior club (and even looked at those who've gone before them) but good to see another LOI side developing a women's team with news from Drogheda United.

The Co. Louth side announced Laura Donovan has been appointed as Head of Women's Football and will initially enter at under-17 level next year with plans to move to senior ranks "in the coming seasons".

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It will leave Finn Harps, Longford Town and most notably St Pats as the only LOI clubs without women's teams at any level next year.

 

The international break isn't for everyone

While many of their teams jetted off to Marbella, Ibiza and wherever else offered nice weather, our international players, mostly underage, were busy this week.

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Brian Maher was the only man to start both games for the Ireland under 21s, but others such as Andy Lyons, Dawson Devoy and Liam Kerrigan played their part with Kerrigan scoring the second goal against Montenegro.

Jack Scott is struggling to get into the St Pats team at the moment but he played twice for Northern Ireland u21s.  Ireland, Wales and Scotland are in action next week with LOI players in the squad.

At senior level, James Talbot (Bohs) was called up to the Ireland squad to replace the injured Gavin Bazunu where he looks to be third choice. Roberto Lopes (Shamrock Rovers) played in Cape Verde's 2-0 win over Togo in an AFCON qualifier while Nando Pijnaker (Sligo Rovers) played a half in New Zealand's friendly defeat to Peru.

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In case you haven't heard, all Premier Divison games and Cork City's game with Athlone Town have been postponed this weekend because of the extended international period.

 

European draws are next week

Always an exciting time for fans of the clubs involved, draws for the first and second qualifying rounds of the Champions League and Europa Conference League will take place next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Shamrock Rovers are seeded in the 1st qualifying round. They'll be looking to avoid Polish champions Lech Poznan and an all-island match up with Linfield is also possible.

Tuesday will also see Sligo Rovers and Derry City find out their 1st qualifying round opponents in the Europa Conference League with neither side being seeded. They'll be in the hat the following day for the 2nd qualifying round draw where they're joined by St Patrick's Athletic. The teams are split into pots prior to the draws with luck needed for all Irish sides.

We'll have some more football next week, even if we're still at the slim pickings stage of the season.

SEE ALSO: The Much Changed Ireland Team We Want To See Against Scotland

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