Ireland and Peamount United striker, Amber Barrett. Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

'If we win every trophy available and I don’t score another goal this season, I think I’ll be happy enough'

Ireland striker Amber Barrett talks Peamount’s perfect start to the season and how her side has evolved in the last year.

WE’RE ALREADY STARTING to get a familiar feel from this year’s Women’s National League campaign.

Wexford have reasserted their domestic dominance taking four wins from their first five games, while Shelbourne’s Rebecca Creagh has netted six times to keep the Dublin side just two points adrift in third position.

Most impressive of the lot so far this term has been Peamount United.

Four wins from four, including a victory over Wexford at the end of March sees last year’s League Cup winners sit top of the WNL table with a game in hand.

Early doors, of course, but Ireland international and Peamount United striker Amber Barrett agrees it was exactly the start they needed to make this season.

“The first four games couldn’t have gone any better,” she tells The42. “Four from four is exactly what we wanted and what we set out to do at the very start.

“Obviously we’re taking one game at a time and that’s what’s most important. We never got ahead of ourselves.

Looking at it, we’ve had some good games to get us started back into the league and the win against Wexford – to get a victory of that size so early on was so important to us.”

The other victories – at home to Cork and away to Limerick and Kilkenny – have been impressive by the manner in which they’ve been executed.

The 7-0 win away to Kilkenny in particular gave those following their progress this season an indication of how potent their attacking line has become.

Victories by wide margins has become a necessity for the team at times this season, the 23-year-old admits.

“You’re considering the fact that if teams are scoring five or six goals against other teams, you don’t want to be falling miles behind them either.

“In the same breath, we know we have goals in our team. Usually we’d be more focused on the performance and playing as well as we can.

“We know that if we play well and we do what we’ve been training to do – we know we’re going to create chances. Then when we create them, we have to put them away.

But if we’re winning games at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to James [O'Callaghan, manager] if you win 5-0 or 6-0 or only 1-0.

“As long as you’re getting three points. That’s what we’re built on. But we also know that we are capable of scoring goals against good teams.

“The thing is, if you do fall five or six points behind, if it’s early in the league you do have a good chance to make up for it.

“Our season is not a long season. 21 games is just not a long at all. But when you’re halfway through, you’re looking for other teams to make mistakes.

It’s always a bad sign when you’re looking for other teams to do you favour.

“I think that was the case with us last year. We had good games and bad games, but we got to a stage in the season where we were hoping the likes of Wexford or Shels would slip up.

“That just didn’t happen because the pair of them were playing so well. They had a confidence going into games that we at the minute have.”

Amber Barrett reacts to a missed chance Amber Barrett during last year's FAI Cup final defeat to Wexford Youths at the Aviva Stadium. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

The Donegal native admits that Peamount’s approach to the season has come about thanks to a more settled team in 2019.

Having recruited the likes of Karen Duggan, Ainé O’Gorman and Claire Walsh at the start of last term, Barrett says these changes can unsettle a squad.

“The thing with us is that we’ve had no big changes to the team this year. There have been no new signings and we’ve kept most people in the squad.

We knew from last year that we already had a good team there. We kind of let ourselves down in the league, though.

“I don’t think we got going to do what you need to do consistently to win the league. The girls have seen that and now we see how good we really are.

“We’ve taken that form from the last couple of games at the end of the season last year to the start of this season.

We’re in a good place. There’s a good ethos in the team and a good sense of team spirit. Bar one or two new signings, the squad hasn’t changed that drastically.

“That was important too because sometimes you bring in all these new players and it can almost unsettle a team. I think that’s what might have happened to us at the start of last year.

“Then when we eventually got settled, we kicked on from there. We’ve not had any of those types of problems so far this year.

Those are three really, really big players and players who were going to make a big difference to us. We’d nearly gone from winning the league the year before to being six or seven points off last year.

“I think you can end up unnerving players who were playing almost every game two years ago. That kind of competition can unsettle people.

“I think we’ve managed that now and the girls have brought in a work ethic that we needed to have brought in for everybody now.”

Aine O’Gorman Peamount United striker, Ainé O'Gorman. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Barrett trails international team-mate Rianna Jarrett in the scoring charts ahead of today’s showdown with Shelbourne.

Despite the pressure to perform and to keep her place with both her club side and internationally with Colin Bell’s Ireland squad, she admits a season of success would liberate her of any pressure to find the net.

“The first thing Ainé tells us before games is that if you work hard, everything else will fall into place.

“That’s what we’ve been building ourselves on for the last couple of months in preseason.

If we go and win every trophy available and I don’t score a goal for the season, I think I’ll be happy enough.”

Kick-off this evening at Greenogue is 6.30pm.

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