5 Reasons why Peamount United won the title

17th October 2023

For the fourth time since the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division started in 2011, Peamount United have finished as champions and they thoroughly deserved the title this year.

For the fourth time since the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division started in 2011, Peamount United have finished as champions and they thoroughly deserved the title this year.

The Dublin outfit led from the front early on and never looked like slipping off their perch. And with two games left to play in the season, they wrapped it up early by beating Wexford Youths last Saturday.

Here are five reasons why they won it…

1: Consistency
Every team with aspirations of collecting silverware needs to uncover consistency first. They need to bring regularity in their approach on and off the pitch – and that is something that manager James O’Callaghan deserves huge credit for.

Even when they lost players to transfers out or injuries, they relied on a core group to get them through games. The style of how they play football did not change too radically but there were subtle switches that gave them the edge at key times.

Of course, the most important area where consistency is needed is in results and that is where Peamount have dominated. After winning their first four games of the season, they lost to Shelbourne then won their next two before drawing with Shamrock Rovers and winning every game after that.

2: Unlocking Player Potential
Fitting players into tactical systems is one approach that can work well for a team. Another way is identifying specifically how an individual player can express themselves so that their talent impacts on the game for the benefit of their team. Peamount went with a little of both this year and it paid off.

By freeing up both Sadhbh Doyle and Erin McLaughlin, The Peas were able to adopt a flexiblity to their attacking play as both players could pop up in positions out wide, centrally or further forward. This led to them pulling opposition defenders out of position and opening up space that either they themselves or their team-mates could exploit.

It was this kind of trust that also saw the promotion of young players into the first-team set-up. In particular, Jess Fitzgerald, Ellen Dolan and Freya Healy proved to be hidden gems inside the Peamount pinata that keeps on giving each year when the management rattle it looking for the next star player to step up.

3: Refusing to Panic
The departure of Áine O’Gorman, Alannah McEvoy, Lauren Kelly and Stephanie Zambra to Shamrock Rovers had the potential to knock Peamount off course before they had even set sail for their 2023 voyage. The fact that it didn’t says a lot about their temperment.

With the recruitment of key players at other clubs, there wasn’t much hype about Peamount mounting a title challenge. That probably worked in their favour but not every team reacts in a positive manner to being tagged as underdogs, so they had to deal with that internally – particularly when they started with a four-game winning run.

Panic could have set in halfway through the season when Tara O’Hanlon picked up an injury and they lost top goalscorer Kate Mooney to Lewes, talented midfielder Rebecca McMahon to Bohemians and exciting forward Orlagh Fitzpatrick to Treaty United. They didn’t buckle though and simply had other players step up.

4: Playing transition football
Peamount have scored more goals from outside the penalty area than any other team this season (ironic then that both of their goals in the League-clinching win over Wexford Youths were from close range), which shows that they are able to hurt teams from all angles.

They have also scored the second-fewest goals from headers, indicating that they rely more on shots from distance than attempting to dribble past the last defender. It is a tactic that has worked with nine different goalscorers this year. They may have been led by Kate Mooney for first part of the year but her exit did not hinder their approach.

The reason why Peamount have been able to play so high up the pitch is becaause the move the ball so quickly through the thirds. The transition play that they adopt is fluid and allows them to counter attack at speed – usually resulting in them gaining advantage in areas of the pitch or on the scoreboard.

5: Built on a solid defence
All good teams have a great defence. Peamount are no different. It is hardly surprising that with two games still to play they have recorded the most clean sheets and conceded the second fewest amount of goals.

Between the posts, Niamh Reid-Burke didn’t even have to remind us of her stop-stopping ability on too many occasions such as the lack of opportunities that her defenisve unit allowed to slip through. The trio of Lauryn O’Callaghan, Jetta Berrill and Chloe Moloney have been outstanding, while Dearbhaile Beirne filled in at left-back once Tara O’Hanlon got injured and proved to be an excellent replacement.

The backline were protected by Karen Duggan and Fitzgerald, who operate as two-way players but never shirk in their responsibility of sweeping across the midfield to break opposition attacks down. The defence was solid because of their consistency but also because of the cover provided by Duggan and Fitzgerald.