“The ideal situation would be to make the National League semi professional”- O’Callaghan

By Stephen Leonard

PEAMOUNT United manager James O’Callaghan believes the Women’s National League should be taking steps towards professional status in order to keep the country’s top players at home.

The Peas boss was speaking in the wake of the announcement that their top international striker Amber Barrett is set to join German Bundesliga outfit FC Koln this summer.

Amber Barrett Peamount 200619

Peamount United are losing the services of Ireland international striker Amber Barrett to German Bundesliga side FC Koln.

The National League’s top scorer for the past two seasons, Barrett has played a huge part in the steady rise of Peamount who have now moved eight points clear at the top of the table following last weekend’s 1-0 victory over defending champions Wexford Youth Women’s FC.

“It’s a big move for Amber and I think full time training will really stand to her” O’Callaghan told The Echo.

“That said, these players do train a lot here anyway, with their training in Peamount, in college, with the international team and then their own training. It’s a pity that she’s leaving, but I think she can do well there.

“The ideal situation would be to make the Women’s National League semi professional and then you’d be able to keep the best players here.

“What you could eventually have is an Ireland team with no home-based players because all the top ones are going abroad for the professional contracts.

“Maybe it’s only wishful thinking from me, but I do hope the league soon becomes semi professional. That really has to be the way we have to go” he stressed.

O’Callaghan’s team have, this season, mounted their biggest challenge for the National League title so far and the Peamount manager was delighted with the performance of his players in last Saturday’s victory over Wexford at Ferrycarrig Park.

A sublime strike by Eleanor Ryan-Doyle 11 minutes before the halftime recess was enough to decide this crucial fixture in favour of the Newcastle side.

“It was an important win for us” said O’Callaghan. Had we lost we would have been only two points ahead of them, but now we’re eight points ahead. It was a real six-pointer.

“The girls showed a huge level of maturity. They were very strong defensively and very creative in offense.

“There was a good intensity about them and I thought they dominated the first half. It was more 50-50 in the second half, Wexford came at us, but we had that bit of luck and we held out.

“That’s two wins we’ve had against them now this season and Wexford are a very good team. They’ve won the title four out of the last five seasons” he pointed out.

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