O’Callaghan amassing a strong force in Peamount

By Stephen Leonard

PEAMOUNT United Senior Women’s team manager James O’Callaghan is amassing a very impressive force ahead of the start to the new 2018 National League season.

Former Peamount players and Irish internationals Aine O’Gorman, Claire Walsh and Karen Duggan have returned to the Newcastle side from UCD for the new campaign, while ex-Shelbourne goalkeeper Niamh Reid-Burke has also come on board.

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Aine O’Gorman

It is a massive coup for O’Callaghan, whose very young Peamount side were pipped for both the Women’s National League and Cup titles in 2017.

Indeed defeat at the hands of Wexford Youths in their closing match of the season saw the league trophy go to Ferrycarrig Park instead of Greenogue.

Yet the injection of such experience into the panel could well prove the difference for the side this time around.

Pleased with his recent acquisitions, O’Callaghan told Echo.ie “All these players are looking for a fresh challenge and, for us, we need to have that experience because we have a very young squad.

“But even with that young team, we just missed out on the league title on the final day of last season.

“We did so well and, because the team is so young, we’re a more attractive side to join. Hopefully the addition of these players will help see us over the line this time.

“It doesn’t guarantee success, because these players still have to blend in with the players that we have there.

“We’ve won nothing yet and, because we have these players now, people are expecting us to win, whereas last year were able to go under the radar.

“But I suppose this is what you have to do if you want to be really challenging,” he added.

Just as encouraging, is the fact that Peamount have been able to hold on to their top players from last season, including Ireland senior internationals Amber Barrett and Heather Payne.

They, together with Duggan, will be part of the senior international squad that travels to Portugal for a training camp this month while Peamount’s Naoisha McAloon, Lauren O’Callaghan, Niamh Farrelly and Jade Reddy are on the Ireland Under 19 panel that will be gearing up for the Elite Phase of the European Championship qualifiers later this year.

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