Peamount captain Aine O'Gorman - We obviously have amateur status, but we have a very professional attitudeTue, Nov 03 2020
She has 104 caps for her country, an FAI Cup final hat-trick and prior Champions League experience against last year’s semi-finalists, Paris Saint-Germain.
Peamount United captain Aine O'Gorman is the ideal candidate, then, to lead her team into battle against top seeds Glasgow City in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.
The Ireland centurion spoke to the media ahead of the trip and said, while they will give Glasgow the respect they deserve, there is a lot of excitement and confidence in the camp.
"It’s obviously been a long time coming around now,” the Enniskerry native says.
"With the COVID, it got postponed in August, and then again in October, so the format's changed slightly different. But, look, it's really exciting and everyone's buzzing to get going.
"Obviously, the timing of the Champions League changing maybe has suited us as we've gotten a good run of league games in as well, which has allowed us to build a bit of momentum too. “
“We know we're going to be up against a good Glasgow side but we're gonna go out there with nothing to lose, give it our best shot, and, hopefully, get a result."
A refreshing and inspiring vibe from the outset of the media call especially when you consider that the European Qualifier against Ukraine is still fresh in the mind.
It was O'Gorman’s heavy back-pass that led to Ireland succumbing to a 1-0 defeat to Ukraine in a game where they only needed a draw to secure a European Championship play-off.
Qualification is still a possibility, albeit a much more difficult one now as they must beat European powerhouse Germany next month to secure that elusive play off – a daunting task.
“I think it will be in the back of my mind forever. You get asked over your career about bouncing back and reacting to setbacks. When that’s asked now, it’s going to be that night in Kiev.
“It’s all about having a good attitude. I’ve never worked with a sports psychologist in the past but I have read into things, taking bits of information that might help me personally in my game.
“It’s all about the mindset and getting back out playing.”
The mindset of the entire Peamount squad will have to be near perfect on Wednesday evening as Glasgow City await.
Manager James O Callaghan has built a very exciting squad in recent years, with the seasoned experience of Stephanie Roche and Karen Duggan alongside O’Gorman.
Younger players like Becky Watkins and Della Doherty are beginning to make their mark after graduating from the club’s under-17 national league team.
Although Glasgow have a squad littered with international talent, O'Gorman feels they can take confidence from the balance in their own squad.
"One of the big positives from this season has been the blend of experience and youth we now have. I know their team is full of Scottish internationals but we've got quite an experienced squad as well.
“We have past and present underage internationals as well as senior internationals, so it should be a good game. We're just looking forward to the challenge.
"Obviously, there's great Irish interest in the game with Tyler Toland recently going on a loan move to Glasgow and Claire Shine as well. Two hugely talented players they are.
“That just goes to show you what we're against, let alone that they're full of Scottish internationals and they got to the quarter-final last year.
“They’re very experienced in the Champions League. It's something that's quite new to a lot of our players.
"Obviously we've got a lot of very good and very experienced players too. Myself, they think I'm ancient at this stage! Obviously Karen Duggan as well, Niamh Reid Burke: all played at international level.
"A lot of the girls have played at World Student Games, underage internationals. I think it's really welcoming, the ability and the talent both Della and Becky Watkins bring to the table as well.”
With the Glasgow City manager Scott Booth taking charge of his 150th game at the weekend, the Scottish champions are seasoned pros at this stage.
Last season they reached the quarter finals before being beaten heavily by Wolfsburg, the eventual runners-up.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic leading to the 2020 season being cancelled, Glasgow City had won 14 Scottish Premier League titles and were firm favourites to add another to that decorated list.
O'Gorman knows the side she leads out on Wednesday evening are up against it but, with the format this season changing to one-off winner-takes-all ties, and the form Peamount are in over recent months, there are plenty of positives to take as they look to cause an upset.
With just two league games left in the current season, the Peas are in flying form and in prime position to retain their league title in the coming weeks.
They have an FAI Cup semi-final to look forward to against close rivals Wexford on Sunday. The big games are coming thick and fast and, according to O'Gorman, they wouldn't have it any other way.
"Obviously, it's good that we've gotten a lot of games under our belt this season. We're right at the business end of the season and to be still heavily involved in so much is fantastic.
“[Glasgow] only played their second league game yesterday, but at the same time you can't forget that they're a professional set-up as well and we don't have that status just yet in our Peamount team.
“We're obviously at amateur status, but we'd have a very professional attitude. In the last few weeks we've had the international break and then we had no league game this weekend either.
“It's been a while since we did play a game together but I also think the fact that we've got good momentum in the league should really stand by us.
"It's a really intense end to the season. We're playing the top four teams left in the league. Shels have found really good form at the moment with a good win against Cork at the weekend.
“It's really, really tight which is great for the league. It's really exciting and keeps us all on top of our game. We're just hoping to raise the intensity now going into the game on Wednesday."
While O'Gorman has played on this stage before, for quite a few of her current team mates it will be their first ever taste of club football at the highest level.
The Peamount captain was part of the Peamount side in 2011 who navigated their way out of that year's group stages.
That was a huge achievement considering a WNL side has only done it once since, Raheny United in 2014, who exited to Bristol University in the round of 32.
Her experience alongside Roche and Duggan will be crucial on Wednesday, and O'Gorman wants the younger players to rise to the challenge and play like she knows they can.
"Obviously we played PSG and they were a really high calibre side at the time. We had to go about the game different tactically than we would a league game week in, week out.
“Going into the game on Wednesday, I think just embrace the challenge, go out with no fear and perform on the stage that you're given as I know they can.
"Everyone's going to just have to perform to their very best ability, go out and defend well and play when we get on the ball and just have no fear."
Uefa Women’s Champions League First Qualifying Round: Glasgow City v Peamount United, Wednesday, 7pm, Broadwood Stadium