Manager: Graham Kelly
Stadium: Jackson Park/UCD Bowl
Players in: Rebekah Carroll (unattached), Jess Gleeson, Kate Mooney (Shelbourne), Louise Corrigan, Niamh Barnes (Peamount United), Rugile Auskalnyte (Bohemians).
Players out: Erica Turner, Aimee Maher, Bobbi Downer, Mel Clarke, Orla Casey, Ally O’Keeffe, Sinead Gaynor, Roisin McGovern.
Extratime.ie Key Player: Fiona Donnelly
Last season’s player of the year has quickly become the indispensable cog in the Waves machine, a midfield fulcrum through which everything flows.
The former Shels woman has found a settled position since joining Graham Kelly’s side in 2019 and backed up the manager’s faith by becoming his most important player in 2020.
There’s nothing particularly flashy about what Donnelly does but, with Kelly’s emphasis being on passing the ball from deep, having a player who can move between the lines is vital.
At 22, Donnelly still has plenty of development in here and she has the capability to turn into a dominating midfielder similar to Kylie Murphy in Wexford.
Extratime.ie One to Watch: Kate Mooney
Hardly the most leftfield of choices, considering she’s spent the last four seasons with a successful Shelbourne side, but opportunity knocks for the Dubliner in new surroundings.
At Tolka Park, she shared gametime with internationals like Noelle Murray, Emily Whelan and Jessica Ziu, and a consistent run in the team was hard to come by.
The move to Waves offers the opportunity to become a key part of an improving team and start every game.
Waves’ achilles heel in the past couple of seasons has been a lack of creativity and Mooney, who can play anywhere along the frontline or in behind, is the ideal signing.
If she can contribute ten goals over the course of the season, the south Dublin side may well start to turn draws into wins and move up the table.
How they did last season:
Waves maintained their sixth-place position from the previous season, finishing top of the second post-split section of the league.
While their scoring tally of 12 goals was the second-lowest in the league, they also boasted the second-meanest defence with just 13 conceded in 11 games.
And while they only won two of their 11 games, lower than both Athlone Town and Treaty United, who finished below them, they lost just five of those games.
The emergence of Eve Badana as a regular starter helped to shore up the defence but it was the lack of goals that really hurt Waves in terms of turning draws into wins.
FAI Cup: Quarter-Final
Waves bowed out at the first hurdle following a 2-0 away defeat to Treaty United.
What to expect this season:
Waves will look to target Galway and Cork City in the places above them in the new season, and to move ahead of one or both will be considered a successful season.
An already solid backline has been boosted by the arrival of Jess Gleeson, Rebekah Carroll and, when fit, Louise Corrigan – league-winning experience.
It was in front of goal where Waves really fell down last year, however, and it was unfortunate that Carla McManus sat out most of the games with injury.
She is back for 2021 and, along with new signing Kate Mooney, will vie with Katie Malone, Catherine Cronin and Kerri Letmon in an increasingly competitive attacking line.
Title Odds: 40/1
First game: Home v Wexford Youths, Saturday, April 3rd (kick-off 6pm).
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