WEXFORD YOUTHS WOMEN
Wexford Youths host Shelbourne at Ferrycarrig Park on Saturday evening (kick-off 7.30pm) knowing a win could take them a considerable way towards regaining the title.
A win over Shelbourne would see Youths move ten points clear of the defending champions with three and four games to play to play respectively, a seven clear of Peamount.
Such is the cramped nature of the table-top that a defeat would cut the gap to Shels to just four points, while the Peas would have two games to spare.
So it's a real test of Laura Heffernan's side's mettle and their approach will be telling – put it all on the line and attack or play conservatively to try and maintain the gap?
The most recent meeting between the sides saw Shels edge a tense encounter at Morton Stadium 3-2 despite two late goals from Claire O'Riordan and Jessica Gleeson.
Last week saw Youths return to winning ways with a 4-1 victory over Kilkenny United, thanks to Laura Parrock's first two goals for the club and one each for Kylie Murphy and Emma Hansberry.
Gleeson is a doubt for the game with illness while O'Riordan, Rianna Jarrett, Ashling Frawley and Aoibheann Webb will be assessed following their travels with the Irish squad at the World University Games in Taipei.
Shelbourne return to league action for the first time in a month following the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a Champions League knock-out spot during the week.
The Red Pandas exceeded all expectation to complete their qualifying group in Belfast undefeated, drawing with top seeds Medyk Konin and P-35 Vantaa and beating Linfield.
It's the first of those encounters that will linger longest in the memory as Shels outplayed the professional Polish outfit for most of the game but couldn't find the breakthrough.
Similar frustrations were met in the tie with the Finnish champs Vantaa, and it meant qualification was out of Shels' hands regardless of their result against Linfield.
Goals from Fiona Donnelly, Kate Mooney and Niamh Prior saw Shels to a 3-1 win but, with Medyk winning their final game, a second-place finish wasn't enough to progress.
Attention now turns to the league where, after a very slow start to the season, Shels' young side has started to gel and they are now the form team in the league.
After beating Wexford at home in their last league game, they will be confident of repeating the trick at Ferrycarrig Park, although the mental and physical toil of the past two weeks may be a leveller.
Wexford and Shelbourne have met three times already this season, twice in the league and once in the Women's National League Cup.
The first encounter at Ferrycarrig Park saw the spoils shared in a 2-2 draw, while the most recent league game in Dublin finished 3-2 to Shels.
The WNL Cup quarter-final in the AUL back in May also went Shels' way thanks to a sole second-half goal from Fiona Donnelly.
Wexford Youths Women 1 – 2 Shelbourne Ladies
Wexford Youths Women
Doubtful: Jess Gleeson (illness), Aine O'Gorman, Rianna Jarrett, Aoibheann Webb, Ashling Frawley.