Áine O'Gorman (right) celebrates with Ireland team-mate Denise O'Sullivan after yesterday's victory over Finland. INPHO/Kalle Parkkinen
Lucky 13

O'Gorman vows 'there's definitely more to come' as Ireland take aim at World Cup qualification

The Irish international features on The Football Family podcast.

HER SENIOR INTERNATIONAL career is now 110 games old, but Áine O’Gorman ranks yesterday’s win against Finland alongside the biggest she has been involved in.

O’Gorman was the most-capped Ireland player on the pitch in Helsinki as the visitors gave their 2023 World Cup qualification hopes a real shot in the arm with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Megan Connolly and Denise O’Sullivan.

Having retired from international football in 2018, the 32-year-old has become a prominent player since returning to the set-up last year under Vera Pauw.

Operating as a wing-back on Ireland’s right, she delivered another tireless display to help condemn Finland to their first defeat in 11 competitive games.

O’Gorman, who made her Ireland debut aged 16, reflected on the game while speaking to Paul Dollery on The Football Family – a podcast that is exclusively available to The42 members. The latest episode also features post-match discussion with Emma Duffy and Paul Fennessy.

“When you’re a little bit younger you probably take some results for granted and you don’t really enjoy them as much,” said the Peamount United star.

“I think at the moment in the campaign where we’re the second game in and we’ve beaten the second seed away from home, it’s probably up there among the best victories that I’ve been part of in the green jersey.”

Last Thursday in Dublin, Sweden – the team ranked second in the world – were put to the pin of their collar by an Ireland side who were buoyed by ending a run of seven straight defeats in last month’s friendly victory over Australia.

By overcoming Finland, Vera Pauw’s players have now laid a solid foundation on which to build a serious challenge to reach a first-ever major tournament.

“Since the Australia game, there’s been this real belief in the team that we can go and get results against top nations,” O’Gorman said. “I think that was reflected in our performance against Sweden as well, although we were probably unlucky in the end not to come away with something.

“We have that belief and confidence, and we’re growing all the time as a team. When you look around the dressing room at the calibre of players we have – Katie McCabe, Denise O’Sullivan and Heather Payne, who was on another level for me last night – it’s just about getting the best out of these players, and together as a team, and the results will follow.”

Despite the magnitude of the win and its potential significance to Ireland’s bid to qualify for the 2023 tournament in Australia and New Zealand, O’Gorman believes the Girls in Green haven’t yet peaked.

“In patches we played some good football but I think there’s definitely more to come,” she said. “I think we can have more composure at times on the ball, and grow and develop even more as a team. That’s obviously a good sign off the back of the win last night.”

Next on the agenda for Ireland is a home double-header, with Slovakia and Georgia the visitors to Tallaght Stadium for Group A fixtures on 25 and 30 November respectively.

“It’s only the start,” added O’Gorman. “We still have a long way to go and there are some big games coming up next month.”

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