Peamount United midfielder Karen Duggan is optimistic about the club’s prospects of repeating last year’s feat of winning a league and cup double but is weary of sides who will be relishing the chance to claim a scalp against the 2020 champions.
Speaking to KCLR’s Saturday Scoreline, the Piltown woman said that while it was a relief to finally get their hands on the FAI Women’s Cup along with the Women’s National League title in 2020, repeating last season’s heroics will be difficult.
United last won the cup in 2010 but lost out to Wexford Youths in each of the last two deciders. However, they comfortably defeated Cork City 6-0 in Tallaght Stadium last December to add to their trophy cabinet.
“We were delighted to add the FAI Cup to the league last season.
“It took us a long time to get our hands on the cup, but this season will be tough with the likes of Wexford Youths and DLR Waves making some very good signings,” said Duggan.
There had been a degree of trepidation from supporters that domestic soccer would be cancelled this year following news this week that the GAA has lost its elite sport status. However, with the FAI confirming that domestic soccer will proceed as planned next month, there was a sense of relief for all involved, none more so than Peamount stalwart Duggan.
She said: “Everyone is absolutely delighted. We were a bit unsure if it would go ahead but it’s very positive that it is happening and it’s also good exposure for the league that we are sponsored by SSE Airtricity this year.”
State support has been given to help domestic soccer commence from March and Duggan says that money will be needed on a consistent basis in order for women’s soccer to grow in Ireland.
“We’re an amateur set-up so we’re self-sustained but any funding will help us grow the stature of the league and the long-term goal is to get to a semi-professional state like they have in Scotland.”
Carlow Kilkenny FC
Duggan, who was named Women’s National League Player of the Year after an impressive season at the heart of Peamount’s midfield, also spoke about Carlow Kilkenny FC’s hopes of eventually fielding a team in the Women’s National League having recently announced that the club is adding an U19 side to their underage set-up.
“I think it’s important that you have a good underage system to act as a feeder for the senior side.
“I think Carlow Kilkenny FC are doing that now and they’re building the club from the ground up,” said Duggan.
Duggan also outlined what needs to be done to continue to improve female participation in the sport and how to promote the women’s game.
“Clubs really stepped up in terms of streaming games and having an online presence last season. Hopefully that online presence will lead to bums on seats once the pandemic is over and we’ll also see a growth in the game across the country.”
Listen to our full interview with Karen below: