By Dave Donnelly
Shelbourne’s Jamie Finn has set her sights on a regular spot in the Republic of Ireland national team after impressing in a recent friendly with Denmark.
The midfielder played 90 minutes in a narrow 1-0 defeat for Vera Pauw’s side but was rewarded with the player of the match award for a tireless performance in the engine room.
23-year-old Finn was handed the unenviable task of shackling the supply to the second-best player in the world, Pernille Harder, and the world’s most expensive player endured one of her quieter evenings.
The Chelsea playmaker was denied space in the number ten channel from which she’ll hope to fire the Blues to Champions League victory against Barcelona on May 16.
Finn was named player of the match, and she is confident the experience gained from facing world class players will help her realise her goal of a professional contract in the future.
“It was a great experience for me,” the Swords native told the Dublin Gazette.
“I played 90 minutes and got player of the match as well, which is a bonus, but it’s all about getting into camp with the girls and getting those games under our belt before the World Cup qualifiers.
“For me, personally, I’d love to be up against players like [Harder] all of the time, and to have that experience was great. She’s a quick player, she speaks for herself.
“Her touches on the ball, even movement away from the ball, is good. It’s great to be up against players of that calibre.
“Coming up against players who play in a professional environment, things just look simple, but we’re all footballers at the end of the day.
“The experience of playing against her and a couple of the Denmark players playing in Europe, was great for me and one I want to push on with.”
The immediate focus for Finn remains the domestic game with Shelbourne, a club she’s been part of since she joined the academy as a child.
Noel King’s side returned to winning ways with a narrow win over DLR Waves on Saturday, and they sit just three points off champions Peamount United after four games.
Domestic form will be key to nailing her place in Vera Pauw’s Irish squad ahead of the World Cup qualifiers later this year, having made her debut away to Greece in the Euro qualifying campaign.
Finn is a qualified gym instructor but, with Covid shutting down the gyms, she’s spent the past few months helping in the Shels academy with Zoom fitness sessions for the next generation.
Professional football remains the goal, however, and having spent time on trial at Celtic last year she believes she has the talent and work ethic to make it happen.
“At the end of the day, it’s about believing in yourself, that you can make that step up to professional football.
“My goal is to play professionally and go abroad, but it’s just about when and where. Hopefully that will come in due course. I wouldn’t be in any way picky on [where].
“It’s just about getting into that professional environment. Being around that 24/7 would be great for me. Hopefully, some day that will come true.”
Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile