All Island Cup preview: Treaty United -v- Shamrock Rovers

Stephanie Roche

Stephanie Roche Credit: Matthew Lysaght (ETPhotos)


Having suffered three back to back defeats in the 2023 All Island Cup, Treaty United will look to re-write the wrongs of last year’s contest when they come face to face with DLR Waves and Crusaders FC once again in the Group stages.

Before old scores can be settled however, the Shannonsiders must face a threatening and youthful side in Shamrock Rovers, when they welcome Collie O’Neill’s squad to Markets Field this Saturday for their Group C opener.

The women in blue, red and white will enter the contest on a high, having ended a painful run of defeats at home which spanned an eye watering 21 months, securing their sides first win at Garryowen in what was a stylish 2-0 scorching of the Waves last weekend.

Against a team that held the Hoops in Belfield to a 1-1 draw, the Limerick women planted fresh roots under Dominic Foley’s tutelage in the ‘garden of Owen’, playing with a tempo that could rival the pace of the infamous Garryowen air quick step dance.

In attack, Cara Griffin, Caleigh Boeckx and Delana Friesen were forensic, while the studious partnership of Kayla Kyle and Talia White at the back ensured that a clean sheet was secured.

Treaty United will look to apply further salve to what has been a traumatic and disappointing two seasons with a convincing victory over the Hoops.

“We will try and win every game we play in,” Treaty manager Dominic Foley said, speaking to the club’s media team.

“I got to see our first two opponents DLR are tough, they get stuck into your face they don't give you time on the ball we will have to do the same to Shamrock Rovers next week they have a lot of good players if they are let play, so that will be our aim to get in their faces beyond the front foot and try to dictate the game to them.”


Finishing just one point behind group B winners Wexford FC in last year's Avenir Sports Women's All-Island Cup, Hoops fans will be hopeful that their heroines from Dublin 24 can go ‘one step further’ and book a place in the quarter finals in 2024.

Speaking to Shamrock Rovers TV about the inhouse aims for the upcoming All Island competition, O’Neill was quick to point out how he and his coaching staff will be measuring their sides progress.

“For us that ‘one step further’ is being better than what we were last year and that is our main focus.

“Have we set out any extreme targets for this year? No, we haven’t. There was a lot of review work done [at the end of the season], and we’ve already started implementing a lot of changes in the hope that we don't hit those scenarios again.

“We have highlighted four areas of improvement - three have been ticked off, with one more to go.”

Beating Peamount United, who went on to win the league, 2-1 at Tallaght in last years group stages was undoubtedly a promising statement of intent for O’Neills side, and despite a frustrating start in the league this campaign, the talent that shimmers in their ranks places Rovers in a promising position to pocket any prize on offer across the 32 counties.

Lia O’Leary, Joy Ralph and Scarlett Herron are three Rovers young guns who have been firing on all cylinders in the Women's Premier Division since signing with the Hoops last season and will no doubt play a pivotal role in Rover’s cup contests.

Reflecting on not only their individual progress to date, but their potential moving forward, O’Neill said, “They have no limits on them at all. I think they've only scratched the surface of what they're capable of achieving in their whole career.

“They have done really well last year on taking onboard information that we've been giving to them and they have developed very well but they're only on the first one or two steps of their ladder - where they can go is the full limit.”

As seen in the Hoops league game against Wexford FC, the group games will present an opportunity for Academy players to not only gain invaluable experience, but make an impact in front of a larger audience - a transition the Rovers coaching staff have anticipated long in advance of their debutants' starts.

“We've been trying to mix some of those players into our training so that it doesn't come as a shock or a surprise to them when they are brought into games,” O’Neill outlined to club media.

“You'll see over the course of the season that we will have those players as part of the bench or the squad as the season goes on so…the pipeline is there.”

The Drogheda man, who is careful not to place too much pressure on his young squad with bold public predictions, cannot repress a ghost of a smile as the interview closes.

The future is bright in Dublin 24, and Rovers Women will look to solidify that fact on Treaty United's Turf this Saturday.


The sides first encountered one another last season, the Hoops cruising to a comfortable 6-0 victory at Tallaght in the Spring, while a 4-1 drilling followed suit at Markets Field, Orlagh Fitzpatrick the only Shannonsider to have put one past Rovers to date.

Yet a lot has changed in the intervening months since Rovers travelled the N7 to the Treaty City.

In the upper echelons of Markets Field, Ciara McCormack has acquired the Limerick-based club in partnership with a Canadian-based investment group led by Tricor Pacific Capital Inc, a landmark move making the 44-year-old the first ever female CEO and co-owner of a women’s and men’s club in the League of Ireland.

An accoladed footballer who joined Treaty United in 2023, the 44-year-old is also a graduate of Yale University and has a Master’s in Sports Management from the University of Connecticut.

Treaty have also appointed former Irish international Dominic Foley at the helm of the women’s team.

A number of players have in addition joined the Treaty squad from Canada. Kayla Kyle, Delana Friesen and Caleigh Boeckx the standout signings for the Shannonsiders.

A true battle of wills awaits for both sets of fans, the game set to be a must watch for the neutral.

Referee: Lucas Keating


Treaty United 2–3 Shamrock Rovers

Treaty United

Injured: Laura O’Neill (fractured foot).

Doubtful: Grace Gleeson, Caleigh Boeckx, Fiana Bradley.

Suspended: None.

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Savannah McCarthy (ankle).

Doubtful: Amanda Budden.

Suspended: None