Before the international break Rovers edged out Wexford in Tallaght. How pleasing was it to beat such a strong side and also maintain our excellent start to the season?

“We were happy with the win but I said at the time, I didn’t think we played overly well on the night and that’s still the case. There’s loads of room for improvement and it’s one of those that I look more at the performance than the actual result. Even though it was a win, it didn’t really feel like it on the night because I know we’re capable of so much more. On the positive side of it, it’s still nice to get a win without actually playing to our best.”

Jamie Thompson, our Player of the Month for March was involved in the winning goal, finished off by another player in great goalscoring form, Áine O’Gorman. How good a goal was that from a free-flowing move?

“It’s another positive from the night because the quality of that goal was tremendous. The movement from Abbie even before the ball landed with Jamie made up Jamie’s on where to put it, and then Abbie’s vision to be able to pick out Áine,  who also was on the move to where she knew it was going to be. It’s nice to see that eventually, as these players play with each other more and more, they’ll learn more about each other’s strengths. It’s nice to see that flow is beginning to come in.”

The opener by Jess Gargan had come from an Alannah McEvoy cross, and what an experience for Alannah to join Áine and Abbie with the senior international side in the States this past week?

“It’s brilliant for any player to be involved at that level but particularly on a trip to the States to play the best team in the world at the moment. We always hope to have as many of our players in and around the senior international set-up as we can, because the experience that they gain from that can only bode well for Shamrock Rovers when they come back, and they’ve worked with the other players that are within the squad. So, there are certain standards being set; the more players we can get involved in the senior set-up, the better it is.”

Alannah Prizeman and Abby Tuthill made their first senior starts and another Academy player, Shannon Coady came on late for her debut as well. Not to mention we had 8 players representing their country at Under 19s level in Norway, so the future is bright…

“The future is bright, and I’ve said it before that the emphasis was always on the senior players that we signed but the majority of our squad is 17, 18, 19 years of age. It shows you the good quality that we have and that we’re not just trying to build for now, we’re trying to build for the future. For 8 to be called up on one international team is tremendous for Shamrock Rovers and tremendous for the players. It shows the level that they’ve been at to be able to get into those international sides.”

How did the remaining team members and staff get on and keep busy at Roadstone in the meantime?

“It was great fun; we were doing two-a-sides and one-a-sides because that’s all the players that we had! We had eight outfield players for a normal training session, so I suppose they’re the things that can challenge me and all the coaching staff to be able to think on our feet and at least try and make it enjoyable for the players, but also try to get what we want out of it and keep the fitness levels and high tempo that we’re trying to embed in the whole squad. It was challenging but actually a good 10 days or so.”

‘The Galway Girls’ finished 6th last year and they’re 5th so far under new manager Phil Trill, who was Alan Murphy’s former assistant. Will he be happy with a decent start?

“If you ask any manager,  they’ll always look for improvement so I think he will be happy with their start but he’ll still be very confident looking at us and going ‘we can beat them’. I watched their games against Shelbourne and Athlone and they’re actually a very good side. Phil has them trying to play a good brand of football, so it’s going to be an interesting battle on Saturday night. It’s not going to be an easy one that’s for sure.”

Which players should Rovers be weary of on Saturday?

“They have good strength in depth throughout the whole squad. There’s no one standout, it’s actually the squad as a whole. When I watched their game against Athlone, for the first 20 minutes it was all Athlone. Athlone were completely bossing the game but then there was a set piece and that’s where they’re dangerous. That’s where they get most of their chances and that’s where they get a goal from. So, it’s hard to pick out one individual attacking player, it’s across the back four and when they get half a chance in and around the box, they’re going to punish any mistake you make.”

Stephanie Zambra is a long-term injury but what’s the latest with the rest of the squad?

“It’s nice that for the very first time, I can say that Sav McCarthy is fit and available for selection. She’s an extra bit of quality we’ll be able to add to the side and it’s just ironic that it’s against her old club. The only other injury we have is Maria Reynolds, who is again long-term but the rest of the squad is fit and raring to go.”