The long-awaited new season of the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership gets underway tonight as we kick-off the new campaign.
After last season’s shortened campaign due to the pandemic, this season sees a full restoration with each of the sides in the top-flight playing each other four times.
All six sides are in action on the opening night as defending champions Glentoran Women start their campaign at home to Crusaders Strikers.
There is a key clash between Linfield Ladies and Sion Swifts Ladies - a game between two of last season’s top three - while Cliftonville Ladies travel to Derry City Women.
Derry City Women v Cliftonville Ladies
All six points that Cliftonville picked up last season were against Derry City and the Reds will be looking to get off to a strong start this campaign at the Brandywell.
The Reds won 6-0 in this fixture last season having beaten the Candystripes 2-0 at Solitude earlier in that campaign, to extend their winning run in the fixture to 14 matches.
Boosted by new signings Kirsty McGuinness, Caitlin McGuinness and Louise McDaniel - all three Northern Ireland internationals - may make the Reds contenders this campaign.
Glentoran Women v Crusaders Strikers
Glentoran kick-off the defence of their Danske Bank Women’s Premiership title against Crusaders Strikers in what will prove a stern test for the Glens.
The East Belfast side won both meetings last season but each game was tight, with scorelines of 2-0 and 1-0, while the Strikers won at The Oval in September 2019.
There have been only nine goals in the last five meetings between these two sides, and this encounter could be another low-scoring affair.
Linfield Ladies v Sion Swifts Ladies
Linfield and Sion Swifts are two sides looking to challenge at the top end of the table this season and if recent history is anything to go by, this game is likely to include lots of goals.
18 goals have flown in across the last four encounters, with Linfield winning last season’s meeting in South Belfast 4-2 and drawing 2-2 in Strabane.
The Blues have lost just one of their last 10 fixtures against Sion but three of the last five meetings have been draws.