Competing for the inaugural Avenir Sports Women’s All-Island Cup, Athlone Town will contest Group A with Shelbourne, Galway United and Linfield, the recently hosted draw in FAI headquarters revealed.
Tommy Hewitt’s charges, who are currently placed sixth in the 2023 League of Ireland Women’s Premier Division, will be hoping to claim for a historic success in the competition the first round of fixtures for which commence on June 18.
In order to aid the Ireland women’s national team’s preparations for FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division season was structured to allow for a period where no League games would take place.
This new competition will now be played during that scheduled break to ensure that women’s domestic football continues to be played as excitement for the World Cup builds. The competition, which is supported by both the Football Association of Ireland and the Irish Football Association, will involve 16 teams in total – 11 from the League of Ireland, five from the Northern Ireland Football League – split into four groups of four teams.
The group games will take place on the week ending June 18, June 25 and July 2. The top teams in each group will progress to the semi-finals, which will be played on week ending July 9, before the last two compete for the silverware in the Final on July 16.
“We at Avenir Sports are thrilled to be the new sponsors of the inaugural women’s all-island competition. Having a long-standing relationship with both the League of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Football League, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with them both on such an exciting collaboration.
“Avenir Sports are passionate about supporting and advancing sports performance at all levels. We believe in the power and potential of women’s football, especially this year as we look forward to the Women’s World Cup. A real chance for women’s football to take centre stage and showcase the talent we have across this island.
“This partnership is about more than sponsorship; it’s a testament to our commitment to facilitating sporting excellence, promoting inclusivity, and fostering a vibrant community based around sport. We look forward to helping make this a highlight of the football calendar and believe it will only evolve and flourish with our shared effort,” Tommy Conneely, owner of Avenir Sports, said of sponsoring the competition.