What was the feeling in the dressing room after our first league defeat of the season against Peamount on Saturday?
They were gutted. I think everybody was absolutely gutted because we thought that the performance warranted more than what we got out of the game. But it was just one of those days. It’s great having a couple of days to reflect on it. Peamount did well, they made it really, really hard for us and made it difficult for us to try and break them down. Our own learnings from it are that we’ve got to be a little bit more clinical, and a little bit quicker with our play in that final third.
There wasn’t much in the way of opportunities for either side in the first half. What did you say you wanted from the girls at half-time and did we start strongly and have very good spells of possession?
Yes, we wanted to start the second half quickly. We know we have good fitness levels. With Tallaght being our home ground, we always want to try to put teams on the back foot early. We want to try to dominate the ball and what we just wanted to do was try and get that initial one, two minutes of that second half to be on top and then we knew momentum will continue for us. And that’s what we did. We dominated large periods of that second half but I suppose the only thing that really matters is how many times you put the ball in the back of the net. We’ve played Peamount twice now and have failed to score. That’s our learning and it’s the part that we have to improve on. It’s where Peamount did really, really well.
Our big chance fell to Jaime from Jess Gargan’s great cross. Everyone in the ground thought that was a goal and then soon after was the sucker punch to concede down the other end. So, did a pivotal moment in the game ultimately come down to fine margins?
It does, when it comes down to the top two teams like that playing against each other, it always does come down to fine margins. Even for Peamount’s goal, I think Sav just delayed a couple of seconds and she thought Lia was going to get the ball. Those couple of seconds just cost you, but it is what it is, it’s a learning and we just have to pick ourselves up and get going again. We know we’ve done some really, really good work and we’re probably ahead of schedule of where we thought we would be, but there’s still loads of room for improvement.
Despite the result was it a great occasion to be part of with it being live on TG4 and another record league attendance?
It was, and you can see the growth of the women’s game. It’s got bigger and bigger and bigger. It wasn’t even just the game and the occasion itself which was very good, but even in the lead up to it, it’s the first time we’re seeing an awful lot of advertisement and an awful lot of media attention towards the game. It’s great to see the attendance figures being released during the week to show that the growth across the women’s league is all on the up.
The All-Ireland competition is a new challenge for Rovers. You’ve said you’re going to be experimental with the team but obviously we want to progress in the tournament, especially with no league games for a long time?
Football is always a squad game. We’ve got to be fair to the squad and try and give players that haven’t had much game time through the first half of the season their opportunity to go and play. It gives us an opportunity to try one or two things different tactically. That’s the way we looked at it when the initial fixtures came out and that’s exactly what we’re going to stick to. So don’t be surprised if you see several changes from Saturday.
And it means we face a familiar foe in Peamount once again. They brought a good crowd themselves to Tallaght and left with the win that time. Could it be the birth of a new rivalry that captures people’s attention in Ireland?
It seems to be all the rivalry is with Shamrock Rovers! It seems to be us against Peamount, us against Shels, us against Bohs but you wouldn’t have it any other way. Once you’re with Shamrock Rovers you always have a target on your back as the one to beat, the one to bring down a peg or two. That’s something we just have to accept and get on with it because it’s part and parcel of the game.
It was good to see Stephanie Zambra back on the bench last weekend. Have Áine O‘Gorman and Abbie Larkin joined the World Cup training camp and is anyone else missing?
They’re already in the training camp, they reported for duty on Monday. If all things go well and if they’re in the final squad we don’t expect to see Abbie or Áine back with us until the end of August. On the injury front, things are looking positive, thankfully. We’ll have Shauna Fox back in the squad. Steph is still on her way back. She’s not exactly match fit yet so it might be a week or two before she gets onto the pitch, but she’s making really, really good progress.