Peamount players’ U-19 European dream

by Stephen Findlater
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 stephen findlater
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PEAMOUNT United’s young stars Brooke Dunne, Hayley Nolan and Jessica Gargan are all hopeful they can “go all the way” following the Republic of Ireland Under-19 women’s perfect record in the European Championships group stages in Norway this week.
Dunne has been an ever-present in goal while Nolan and Gargan – both aged just 17 – have been waiting in the wings for a side that stunned Spain in their tournament opener before beating both England and Sweden 2-1, setting up a semi-final date with the Netherlands in the final four on Thursday, July 24 for the right to play either Norway or Spain in the final.
All three have long been members of the Peamount success story with Dunne, also 17, joining the club five years ago and is already part of the club’s Women’s National League panel having been part of the Under-15, 17 and 19 international set-up while she has also won the Under-16 FAI Cup and a pair of Gaynor Cup medals.
Nolan has been a Peas player since she was 10 and has been a good source of goals for the side from midfield in the build-up to the competition, prompting manager Dave Connell to employ her as a striker last Friday evening against England. On her resume are two Under-16 FAI Cup winners medals while she captained the MGL Under-16 Gaynor Cup winning team in 2013.
Gargan, meanwhile, has earned international caps at Under-16, 17 and 19 level and has a wealth of Gaynor Cup, league and Leinster cup titles to her name.
Speaking about their representatives, Peamount’s Sharon Rice paid tribute to the players in helping the Irish side get to this stage. “The dedication, passion, drive and support from parents and club have enabled these girls to get to these heights and they are an asset to our club.”
And they will now be hoping to go a couple of steps further in the tournament with manager Connell saying he always believed his panel would make some waves when not many others had been heralding their chances.
“Not a lot of people gave us a chance before this tournament started,” he said. “We have heart and belief, which I truly think is what drives us on.
“How far can we go? Of course we can go all the way. We have everything it takes to be champions.
“I really hope the people of Ireland are proud of us. We finished the group on three wins and nine points, played three top nations and showed what we can do. I am absolutely delighted for the girls. There’s a lot of belief that we can go all the way. We are very hard to beat because of that belief and they showed amazing courage in this and the other two games.”

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