O’Callaghan wants taskforce on women’s professional league

Peamount United manager says women’s game could progress faster than men’s

Peamount United manager James O'Callaghan has said that more needs to be done to establish what is required to get a professional women's league up and running in Ireland.

O’Callaghan, whose side won the league and the cup last season, welcomed the news that Bank of Ireland would, like Airtricity, be sponsors not just of the men’s club game here but also the women’s. He said, however, that a lot more needed to be done given how low the base the Women’s National League was starting from.

“I think a taskforce should be set up to see what it will take to get our players to semi-professional status and on from there to professional status,” he said.

“How much funding is it going to take for that to happen? We need to find out because the benefits would be huge. If the right resources were in place the women’s game could progress a lot more quickly than the men’s one, particularly at European level.”

As it is players from the league continue to move away in order to play at a more professional level, with Farrelly leaving Peamount to join Glasgow City in December and only this week 19-year-old Izzy Atkinson joining Celtic from Shelbourne.

“It’s great for those players that they are getting to play professionally,” said O’Callaghan, “but it’s not great for the league to be losing them.

“The players make huge sacrifices here but the rewards just aren’t there, although there have been improvements in funding last year, and I think ‘pay as you play’ will be a thing of the past this season.”