Women's National League champions Raheny will be hoping to add to their trophy collection when they take on Castlebar Celtic at the Aviva Stadium on SundayRaheny United will be looking to retain the Women's FAI Cup when they take on Castlebar Celtic at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.
The final returns to the Dublin venue after an eight-year absence, and is being held before the men's FAI Cup Final in a bid to boost the attendance at the showpiece event. Raheny United go into the game as heavy favourites after Terry Eviston guided them to a league title, with the former Athlone Town boss winning every league game since taking charge of the Women's National League side.
Eviston comes face to face with his former protege Adrian Carberry, who is now in the dugout of Castlebar Celtic. "I managed Adrian at Athlone Town, he was a cracking winger for me. It’s great to be now managing against him in a cup final," said Eviston.
The two sides met last month, with Raheny emerging as 9-2 victors, and Carberry is out to put that game behind him and his players. "Terry is a nice man, a clever football man who was a great player," Carberry said. It’s interesting for me to go up against him as a coach.
"It’s a new experience for me. It’s a learning experience for me and the team. It’s a pity we haven’t had a game since the [9-2] league game but training has been good. It’s probably good that when our mistakes did happen that they’re all in one game so we just hope they’re out of the way now.
"In football, no two games are the same. If we play the way we can play we’ll have a chance. Hopefully the girls listen to what we’re telling them. The gap between the sides isn’t as big as people may think and we do have a chance."
Eviston has plenty of experience of what it feels like to be in a cup final, and hopes to pass his knowledge onto his players. "My first final experience was Bohemians-Limerick in 1982 but I wasn’t playing after breaking my ribs in the semi-final against Dundalk," Eviston admitted. "I was in four other finals and was at the wrong end of a few losses.
"I’m very much aware that the occasion can pass you by depending on the personality of the players. Some players love playing on the higher the stage the better while others get stage-fright – there’s nothing worse than somebody getting to that stage and not showing what this can do."
One player the fans are likely to see in action is Seana Cooke, who will make her last appearance for Raheny before moving to FA Super League club Durham WFC. Eviston has no major fitness concerns ahead of the game, but Castlebar will be without Shauna Jackson, who has an ankle problem.