5 things to look forward to in this year’s Women’s Premier Division

5 things to look forward to in this year’s Women’s Premier Division
Alanna Cunnane
Alanna Cunnane

The League of Ireland Women’s Premier Division kicks off tomorrow, Saturday the 8th of March, and as comes with every season, there’s a renewed air of optimism and excitement looming.

With some new faces, increased investment and overall a more competitive league across the board there’s a lot up for grabs.

Here’s five things to look forward to in this year’s Women’s Premier Division.


1.5 managerial changes in the league

If there’s one thing to say about the Women’s Premier Division’s offseason this year, it’s clearly been a time for change.

There’s been a shuffle of the deck in a managerial sense at Shelbourne, Bohemians, Sligo Rovers, Treaty United and Wexford FC (formerly Youths), meaning five clubs in total, nearly half of the league, come into this year’s edition with a new boss at the helm.
With the departure of Noel King, Shelbourne instated Eoin Wearen as their manager, with Wexford welcoming Hugh Strong in place of Stephen Quinn who stepped down last summer, while the moves at Bohemians, Athlone Town and Sligo Rovers are all connected in a weird way.


Tommy Hewitt was obviously replaced by Ciarán Kilduff in Athlone last season, and has secured a spot over Sligo Rovers this year, but the assistant manager that Kilduff put in place upon that swap, Ken Kiernan, will now manage Bohemians in this term.

You’d need a spider map to draw it all out, but regardless a shake up will do no harm, and promises as always to throw a surprise or two into proceedings.

2. It's impossible to call who’s going to win

Infamously in the Women’s Premier Division, there’s nearly always been a touch of ‘the best and rest’ to the table and standings, but as the years go on, list continues to expand.

This year, avid fans could no doubt call the top four with relative ease, but if someone tells you they know exactly who’s going to win, simply put, they’d be lying.

Which team will emerge as champions in 2024? It’s impossible to call.

But what I can tell you is that reigning winners Peamount United will certainly be in the mix, as will Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers and Athlone Town…and who knows?

Maybe even a surprise entrant from the so-called‘ rest’ too.

If past form is anything to go by, you may throw your predictions out the window when it comes to the WPD.

What we do know is Shelbourne have welcomed two instrumental former players back into their ranks in Irish internationals Jess Gargan and Roma McLaughlin, while Athlone Town under Kilduff have also continued to go from strength to strength in retaining much of their players that won them the FAI cup, and signing additions such as Casey Howe.

Shamrock Rovers sure made a splash in the off season prior to their first year last time out, and while this time they head towards kick off with less grandeur in terms of names, they may make up for it in time spent gelling together.

That’s all without even mentioning 2023’s Cham’PEA’ions in United, who have captain Karen Duggan and co overseeing youngsters such as Freya Healy, Ella Dolan and Erin McLaughlin are sure to be within touching distance too.

3. More investment in the Women’s Premier Division

With more attention and attendances, comes a growing opportunity for both investment, and you can certainly say that about the Women’s Premier Division this year.

Treaty United grabbed headlines when their new CEO, Ciara McCormack, secured backing from Canadian investment firm Tricor Pacific Capital, for both their men’s and women’s teams, and thus far have shown, signings wise anyways, that they intend for those outfits to receive parity of support.

Elsewhere the overall prize money has also increased, with the title sponsor, SSE Airtricity, doubling their allotment for the 2024 season.

Now €110,000 will be spread across the league on its conclusion, and divided out based on finishing league position, reinforcing once again that every point could count towards something.

4. Going for increased attendances… again!

Shamrock Rovers ensured that their inaugural season was one to remember last year, if not for the silverware they won than for the buzz they created around the league.

The Hoops continued to push for attendance records throughout the year, and created a rivalry with other clubs in doing so, but it was eventually them that held strong to set the league’s attendance record, not only for 2023, but in history.

They got 1464 people in the gates on that occasion, and there were four games overall throughout the league that had over 1,000 fans present.

Some clubs saw massive jumps in their average attendance, while others left work to be desired, but if the trend is set to continue, the figure should rise once again this year.

5. As they say, this league gets you there! Which Women’s Premier Division stars might break into the WNT this year?

If the WPD and the League of Ireland’s slogan is anything to go by - ‘this league can take you there’, and that was proved beyond doubt again last season.

In fact, just recently, Peamount United’s Tara O’Hanlon secured a monumental deal overseas to top WSL side Manchester City.

She’s not the first to clinch such a life changing move, and she won’t be the last.

Especially for younger stars, the league can be a sensational bouncing board onto the world stage, weather that be with the Girls in Green in the Ireland WNT or overseas to play football in England or America.

It may feel like a lifetime ago, but prior to the World Cup, Abbie Larkin was still a relatively unknown young footballer, just waiting to seize her opportunity and forge her path at Shamrock Rovers.

Having broken into the Ireland squad, she cemented herself as a sure fire pick at the World Cup, securing a move to Scotland and later Crystal Palace.

The same could be said for Jessie Stapleton in recent years, as well as Jamie Finn, Emily Whelan, Chloe Mustaki and more.

Look back even further and you’ll see the names in bright lights, your Katie McCabe's, Amber Barrett's and Louise Quinn's did the very same, and so who knows what breakout prodigies we’ll bare witness too this season.

I for one, can’t wait to see.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Stay in the game! Get top women's sports stories, event updates, and exclusive competitions delivered to your inbox weekly!

Processing your request...

Follow us for more

Sign Up to our newsletter

Stay in the game! Get top women's sports stories, event updates, and exclusive competitions delivered to your inbox weekly!

Processing your request...

Follow us for more