You said last week that you’d have preferred a 6-0 win on your return to management rather than a late winner in Sligo, and you got exactly that against Treaty. How pleased were you with Saturday?
“I’m very pleased with Saturday. I still think we started off a little bit edgy and tentative but after probably about 15, 20 minutes we settled into the game. Once we got the first goal there was no looking back. We very comfortable then and played some good football, so overall I’m really happy with it.”
There was some good football on display and nice moves for the two first half goals but did substitute Jamie Thompson steal the show with an impressive hat-trick?
“She sure does have quality but it shows the squad that we have, that we take somebody like Abbie Larkin off at half-time and you put someone like Jamie Thompson on and she’s able to score a hat-trick. There’s great competition there for places within the squad and that’s the way we like it, because then each player is having to push themselves and be the extra bit better to try and get into that starting line-up.”
Was it nice to see a decent crowd come out and support the team for the first game in Tallaght considering the terrible weather?
“It was a horrible wet day and to see the crowd that came out was impressive. There was a great buzz about the place, a great atmosphere and I think the players actually fed off it and it helped them grow into the game. It was one of those days where everything was all positive.”
Abbie Larkin was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet and she came off at the break with a calf strain. How is she for Saturday?
“She’s fine. She’s trained this week so she should be in contention for the starting line-up on Saturday. “
Who are still injured and unavailable for Tolka?
“Sav McCarthy is still on her road to recovery and Maria Reynolds is still out. Summer Lawless was back training this week but the one who might be doubtful is Stephanie Zambra. She seems to have tweaked a hamstring during the game in Saturday, so she’s gone for a scan this week. We’re just waiting on the results of that scan to come back.”
What sort of opponent are defending champions Shelbourne on their own turf and which players are ones to watch out for?
“All the players – they’re not the champions for nothing. They’ve been very good at Tolka, not just last season but the season before too. Even though I know people will look to highlight the players that have moved to Shamrock Rovers, the recruitment that Noel has done has been fantastic. He’s brought in some really good, quality players and also what they have there is top quality when you look at Jessie Stapleton, Megan Smyth and Noel Murray. So they’ve great strength up and down the pitch and it’s going to be a tough one.”
Are you and your players really looking forward to challenging yourself against the best in the league?
“Of course we are. It’s not just the best in the league, we’re constantly trying to raise standards so that’s why we look to play against the Shamrock Rovers boys teams, because they play at a much quicker and faster tempo than the girls are used to. That’s the level that we want to try and live at constantly so when you come to these games, like playing the champions in their own ground, those kind of training matches pay off. You can live at a good tempo, try and push yourself on and set a whole new standard for the league. We’re all looking forward to it, it’s a great challenge and these are the kind of games that you really look forward to playing.”
It’s a derby and the number of ex-Shels players that have come to Rovers over the winter will obviously be talked about a lot on the outside. Does that add a bit of spice to the game?
“I’m sure there’s plenty of people going to be making plenty of comments about it but it doesn’t make any difference to us. It’s still a normal game and you still only get three points for it, the same as we got for Treaty last week and the same for the game after that. We’re not making it up to any bigger than what it normally is, we’re just looking forward to testing ourselves and see where we are. We don’t expect to be there yet but it’s going to be a little tester to see where we’re at.”