O’Gorman swaps TV booth for Ireland return

by Dave Donnelly

AINE O’Gorman expected to cover Thursday night’s Euro 2021 qualifier between Ireland and Greece as a pundit – but a surprise call from manager Vera Pauw saw her quickly change her plans.

The Peamount United skipper had taken a step back from international football after 12 years and 100 caps at the conclusion of the unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign.

O’Gorman, a personal trainer by profession, dipped her toe in punditry following retirement and was a prominent feature on RTÉ’s broadcast schedule for World Cup 2019.

The 30-year-old, who had a successful 2019 both personally and collectively with the Newcastle club, had no hesitation in reversing her decision once the call came.

A fine personal season saw O’Gorman lead her side to the league title for the first time in eight years, though they lost the FAI Cup final to Wexford Youths at the Aviva Stadium.

A tally of 20 goals – her best return since sinking 26 on her way to the golden boot in 2014-15 – came about as the Peas looked to their captain to fill the void left by Amber Barrett’s move to Koln.

“Vera gave me a shout and it was an opportunity I wasn’t going to turn down. I’d probably regret it if I had,” said O’Gorman ahead of her international return.

“After the new management came in, I probably started to get itchy feet.

“I was watching the girls play in Tallaght and it was something in the back of my mind, especially off the back of a good club season.

“I had the itchy feet so when the opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it with two hands. And here I am now and it kinda feels like I never left, to be honest.”

The versatile striker, who frequently plays off either side of the Peas attack, had been booked in to cover the game for the national broadcaster before her plans were reversed.

“They asked me to do the the next game and I texted and said: ‘Sorry, my circumstances have changed’. Then the news came out and we had a laugh about it.”

O’Gorman does feel her punditry work – she covered the return game in Greece when a dominant Irish side were hit by a last-gasp equaliser – may benefit the way she looks at the game.

“It might come back to haunt me! No one’s actually mentioned anything, to be honest. The topic hasn’t come up.

“Probably taking a step back helps you look at the overall picture rather than just you in the situation with the team. It can be a learning experience.

“You just look at it from a different perspective, but anything that has to be learned, the coaching team bring that to the table already and you learn from your mistakes.

“I think that the Ukraine performance typifies how good this team can be when they are let play free, attacking football.

“They can be a massive attacking threat.”

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