All-Island Cup Preview: Galway United -v- Athlone Town

Galway United ahead of their Women's Premier Division game against Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Saturday, 25 March 2023.

Galway United welcome Athlone Town Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Galway United

“There is a feel about Galway you can wear around your shoulders like a cloak. It hangs in the air with its dampness; it blows in with the mist from the Atlantic and lingers incessantly at every corner.”

– Claire Fullerton

A friend once referred to Galway as the ‘Wolf of Ireland’ - fierce, familial and carrying an air of mystery.

A city renowned for its myths and legends, Galwegians will now have one further tale to relay around the hearth - that of a true story involving a squad of women in maroon, who lifted a glittering Cup on Church Hill last July.

Player of The Match and Cup winner Gemma McGuinness may have departed United for pastures new, but Phil Trill’s side have demonstrated the type of quality needed to win this competition for a second year on the bounce in what is the young manager's second campaign at the helm.

The Tribewomen’s performances have bordered on mystical, each player leading with the same fearlessness displayed by Fionn Mac Cumhaill when he led the Fianna, clinically and convincingly dispatching sides both at home and away.

United sit in pole position in the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division on sixteen points, having cut through the competition like a knife through butter with five wins and one draw to their credit.

The gallant Galwegians have netted 24 goals across eight games in all competitions, with a fantastical goal average ratio of three per game.

At the other end of the pitch, United have conceded only two goals from eight games played - a testament to their tight-knit backline consisting of the tenacious Eve Dossen, while tidy performances from goal-minders Jessica Berlin and Maria O’Sullivan have kept the ball out of the back of the net.

United won both of their Group D All Island Cup fixtures in March and April, galloping four goals past Glentoran at a pace that racing commentator Seán Bán Breathnach would surely applaud, before beating Sligo at a canter, with two goals to show for their efforts at The Showgrounds in March.

Jenna Slattery, Trill’s penalty spot executioner and March Player of the Month will be an ever-present threat for Galway.

Galway native Julie-Ann Russell bagged a hatrick against Cork City in their 5-0 victory in March and will look to agitate the visitors on the Eamonn Deacy turf.

Skipper Lynsey McKey, the cool-headed veteran, will no doubt too serve as a thorn in Kilduff's side, the composed Clare native unlikely to buy into the hyperbole that sports writers such as myself only delight in crafting.

The blinkers are on - into the west we go.

Athlone Town

Ciarán Kilduff's side will look to lure United from atop the heights of Tír na nÓg and send the Tribeswomen back to the mortal realm in what is set to be another ‘Trilling’ encounter at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Off the back of an impressive victory over Peamount United in the Presidents Cup, the women from the midlands were beaten by United in their season curtain-raiser, but have since secured six wins and one draw across all competitions.

Athlone Town now sit third in the league on thirteen points - two behind Shelbourne (over whom they have a game in hand) and three adrift from United.

The Town secured two wins in their opening double Group D All Island Cup clashes, beating Casey Howe’s alma mater Glentoran 5-2 and Sligo Rovers 2-1.

‘Howe’ to stop Kilduff’s April Player of the Month will undoubtedly be at the forefront of the United backline's minds as they line out against last year's FAI Cup winners.

The twenty-one-year-old Fermanagh native should step on the turf brimming with confidence having retained her place in Tanya Oxtoby’s Northern Ireland squad for the upcoming Euro qualifiers’ double-header against Portugal.

Chloe Singleton, who has netted four goals in the last five consecutive games for The Town will no doubt be in high spirits, having pickpocketed a late winner at Lissywollen against Wexford FC last weekend.

Athlone Town did not escape from Group A in the 2023 competition and will no doubt be determined to go all the way this time around.

In anticipation of the 5 pm kick-off on Saturday, Ciaran Kilduff spoke to and stated:

“We will be approaching this game like any other, despite both teams being already through in the group. It’s another opportunity to test ourselves against one of the best teams in the country.”


Paudie Hayes


3-2 home win


Since 2021, both sides have encountered one another ten times across all competitions/friendlies.

Athlone Town have won five of these fixtures, while Galway United have come out victorious in three with two ending in a draw.

Both teams faced off in round two of the All Island Cup in 2023 where they were forced to share the spoils in a nil-all draw.

Athlone and Galway have secured qualification to the knockout stages of this competition, yet this is still a game that neither side will want to lose.

Flip a coin.

Galway United

Injured: Unknown

Doubtful: Unknown

Suspended: Unknown

Athlone Town

Injured: Ciara Glacken

Doubtful: Chloe Singleton

Suspended: Unknown