So what is it that drives Peamount United on? What motivates a team that clinched the domestic double last season? In a word…Accountability.
Having raised the standards so high, the only way to maintain a level of consistency is for each of the players to hold their team-mate responsible for any slip up.
That suits Tiegan Ruddy just fine because she wants to embrace every challenge that is put in front of her. And with a number of noteworthy performances already registered, she is making the most of it all.
“At the moment at Peamount we have a winning mentality. We are able to grind out results if we have to because we have that determination and grit about us. It’s what winning teams need to have,” said Ruddy.
“I think the team’s success in recent times is down to accountability. You’ll know if you’re not putting in the work but you want to work hard for your team-mates and not let them down. James [O’Callaghan, manager] really instills that in us too. Everyone is held accountable for what they bring to the team.”
Ruddy is actually learning a new role this season. Usually she would be the one hanging back in midfield to defend against counter attacks, but now she is charged with breaking forward into the opposition’s penalty area.
Having that licence to roam forward has brought the best out in the Celbridge native with two goals, one assist, and an 84% pass accuracy in four games this season. But there is more still to come from her.
“It has been a new role for me and something that I wasn’t expecting. To be fair, Karen [Duggan] was the Player of the Year last season and she is playing in that more defensive role so I can have no complaints about that,” she admitted.
“I’m enjoying it and playing in the team right now. We have so many good players and there is so much competition for places, which is great because it keeps everyone on their toes and gives us great options in every position.”
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Ruddy’s recent form is that it is coming on the back of her return from a serious ACL injury that had kept her sidelined for some time.
Back from college in the United States, she was trying to keep herself fit with shuttle runs on the grass patch outside her home when suddenly she twisted things too far. The recovery period felt never-ending for the 21-year-old.
“It was very lonely at times but I had good support from the physio Mark Kenneally, who has his own set-up in Celbridge, and Daniel O’Reilly, who plays for Drogheda United, I did a lot of work with him on a one-to-one basis,” said Ruddy.
“Daniel really pushed me on. He is a great footballer in his own right so he was able to do football-specific stuff with me when I was coming back to the end of my injury. It was a huge help having that support.”
It’s quite clear that Ruddy, who is studying Business & Law in Maynooth University, is back up to full speed again. And her influence could just help Peamount to a sixth straight League win, when they take on Cork City on Saturday.