Amber Barrett of Peamount United being presented with her team of the year award by Eamon Naughton, Chairman of the womens national league committee, in the company of Tom Dennigan of Continental tyre's Ireland, during Continental Tyres Women's National League Awards . Picture: Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile

PEAMOUNT UNITED striker and FAI Women’s National League player of the year and golden boot winner Amber Barrett is delighted with the start she’s made fronting Ireland’s team, having been called up at the start of this World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Ireland ladies have made a breathtaking start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, with victories over Northern Ireland and Slovakia, before a trip to European Champions the Netherlands, where they drew 0-0 last week. They sit joint top of their qualifying group.
Barrett was asked to do a tough job up front alone against Holland. She’s happy with the team’s focus on defensive foundations, however, and feels Ireland still have more to give.
“It’s a huge result, to get an away draw against the European Champions. Of course, it’s tough up front on your own, you get a real workout,” she tells the Dublin Gazette.
“Everyone from front to back put in a huge shift. I think we’ve always known we were well capable if we can be defensively solid.
“We’ve stopped leaking goals, which was our biggest problem in the past. [Manager] Colin Bell has made it very clear to us that defence is first, then we work on attack. We defend front to back and that can be hard to hear as a striker, but it’s correct. We’ve had eight clean sheets in the last ten games, and conceded only three goals. That’s massive.”
It’s astonishing that DCU Masters student and Peamount star Barrett is already at such a level in soccer, given that only earlier this year she was splitting her time between the game and a prominent role in the county Gaelic football team from her native Donegal.
“It was a step up going to the World University Games in Taiwan,” she admits of her experience captaining Ireland’s university team earlier this year. “This is another level completely. There are a few girls from the team that played in Taiwan that are on the fringes of the national team, but it’s a big step up, you’re really amongst the elite, and that’s pushing us to improve.
“I do miss the players, the craic and the reckless preseason of the Donegal panel. The All Stars were last week and a few of the girls were on the team. It doesn’t compare to the other night, though. Playing in front of a packed stadium of 13,000 at the elite level like on Tuesday night is something else, though. It’s what I wanted for myself. It’s not always easy, but I don’t regret my decision.”
Peamount, of course, had a strange season. It was successful in the extent to which they pressed for trophies, something that’s been lacking recently, but disappointing in that they missed out on finale chances to win both the league (losing to rivals Wexford Youths on the final day, when they needed a draw to take the title) and the cup (losing the Shelbourne on penalties).
“They just got the better of us on the day,” Barrett says of the Wexford game. “Of course it’s disappointing, and it will definitely drive us on. People are saying we had a good season, and I do understand why, but at the end of the day we’ve got nothing to show for it.
“It’s no good unless you follow up. Obviously awards like player of the year, and the golden boot do mean a lot to me personally, but it’s all about team at the end of the day. I’d trade them in a second for winning the league.”
With such a winning attitude, both the charging young Ireland side and Dublin ballers Peamount United look like they have a promising future.

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