The Women’s national league of Ireland is scheduled to kick off today (4th of March, 2023).
SSE Airtricity continues to be the main sponsor for the league. The 2023 Women’s Premier Division will see 11 teams competing to reach the top of the league. In 2022, it was a nail biting finish with almost 4 teams with a chance to win the league during the last two game weeks. Shelbourne FC ultimately emerged the winners of 2022.
The 2023 season curtain raiser match took place last week. The President’s Cup saw Athlone Town FC hosting Shelbourne FC. If this is an indicator of the competitive games which are going to come up this season then it is going to be really interesting one. The President’s cup saw the game end at 2-2 and Athlone Town FC winning it on penalties.
League of Ireland Women’s Premier Division will witness five games in the first week as per the below schedule. DLR Waves will have to wait for one more week to get their first game.
The league which was started in 2011 with 6 teams has gone through a slow and steady progression. With the new 2022-2025 strategy of FAI, there is going to be a focus to get this moving ahead at pace.
One of the key components of the football ecosystem in Ireland is the support from local businesses. The list of kit sponsors for the clubs shows that this definitely is a great way to support the local teams.
Six jersey manufacturers are helping the clubs with the manufacturing of their jerseys. O’Neills the 100+ year old Ireland brand is still one of the major kit manufacturers for this league. Umbro, Adidas, Jako, Joma and Whisport also make it to this list.
Before the start of this season, there has been some high profile signings by clubs from abroad and also significant transfer of players among the league clubs itself.
Peamount United won the first edition of the league in 2011. Shelbourne FC has won the last two editions, in 2021 and 2022. Wexford Youth s FC have won this league 4 times and lead the chart with maximum titles. With all these three teams competing in 2023 along with the current President’s cup winner Athlone Town FC , a new look Shamrock Rovers, latest entrant Galway United, the teams like Cork City, DLR Waves, Sligo Rovers and Treaty United looking for their turn to reach the top of the league, season 2023 is definitely going to be a tough one to predict. All the best to the teams.
The match day 1 of inaugural season saw 16 goals. Let us see how many goals will be scored on the first day of season 2023.
The branding done at bus stops, bill boards at prominent places etc. looks to be a great way to attract more support and crowd at the stadiums.
I will try to watch some of the games at the stadiums and cover some match reports. It is great to see the support for the teams and the way this ecosystem is growing.
The money generated by the league, salary to the players, monetary benefits to the clubs, viewership and all are still way behind the potential. Yes, still lot of work to be done however the intent and direction looks to be right.
Images used : courtesy League of Ireland Twitter page / Website