Peamount United are on the cusp of completing a historic Women’s National League and FAI Cup double as they prepare to take on Wexford Youths at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
James O’Callaghan’s side sealed their first league crown in seven years with an emphatic 8-1 win over Cork City on Saturday night to finish two points clear of Shelbourne.
Eleanor Ryan Doyle scored four times to take her tally for the season to 18 from midfield, while Áine O’Gorman and Megan Smyth-Lynch each landed doubles.
The Peas have lost just two games in all competitions this year – both to Shelbourne – and should they maintain that record, they will walk away from Lansdowne Road with another trophy in hand.
Ahead of them stand Wexford Youths who were 1-0 winners when the sides met in last year’s final. They will be smarting after surrendering their league crown to Peamount.
There are marked contrasts between the teams – the Wexford squad is brimming with experience and title-winning pedigree, while Peamount is a younger group.
In former internationals O’Gorman, the captain, and Karen Duggan the Peas have top-level experience but, for many of the younger players, the league was their first major title.
And O’Callaghan feels the experience of coming so close at the Aviva last year, and the grit they showed to win their final two games to take the league title, will stand to them on Sunday.
“There was a lot of pressure on us for the last two games, especially with Shelbourne doing so well,” O’Callaghan tells the Dublin Gazette.
“The girls were great, I have to say. The girls were really up for the game and it was great to get the three points and the title.
“You’d like to think the experience of last year will stand to us [too]. As coaches, we’d like to think we learned from mistakes made in that game and that will carry onto the team.”
Had they drawn with Cork on Saturday, the league had already arranged for a play-off to take place with Shelbourne at Richmond Park, but it wasn’t needed as Peamount ran out easy winners.
The squad will train this week at the FAI’s National Training Centre in Abbottstown in preparation for the final as the dimensions are identical to those of the Aviva pitch.
And O’Callaghan hopes that the extra preparation and attention to detail will be enough to seal what would surely be the biggest achievement in the club’s senior history.
He concluded: “Getting to the Aviva is fantastic for the club, all the volunteers and committee members and a day out at the Aviva is great for them.
“The girls getting to the Aviva two years in a row is fantastic, but at the same time it’s not a great feeling when you don’t get the result you want. It’s a massive game.”