Soccer

Niamh Farrelly Flourishing In Glasgow

Irish midfielder Niamh Farrelly has unsurprisingly settled into life as a professional footballer in commendable fashion. 

Three goals in three games, top of the league with one game remaining and Champions League Qualification secured– the Dubliner has thrived since joining Glasgow City FC, the most successful women’s club in Scotland.

The move to Scotland for Farrelly came as little surprise to many in the Irish Women’s Football scene. Still a student in Dublin City University, one could be forgiven for thinking she has been around far longer than that of a 22 year old. Comfortable operating at the center of midfield or defence, Farrelly has enjoyed a fine career to date, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. She began her career at Esker Celtic before moving to her beloved Peamount United. After joining the Peas, Farrelly quickly became one of the driving forces behind Peamount United’s recent dominance in the Women’s National League(WNL). She enjoyed a fine season in 2018, collecting player of the month in the WNL in September, before being named in the team of the season shortly after. On an international front, she was named captain of the Irish U19 side, subsequently going on to claim U19 International Player Of The Year at the FAI International Football Awards ceremony. 2019 brought more fortune for the Lucan native as she was part of the Peamount outfit who claimed the Women’s National League for the first time since the 2011/12 season, a decade ago when Stephanie Roche was at the peak of her powers for the side. In addition to this, she was handed her first senior International cap by Colin Bell in a 1-0 defeat to Belgium.

Mustaki Niamh
2019 World University Games Women's Naples. Chloe Mustaki and Niamh Farrelly celebrate after a 2-1 win against South Korea. (Photo: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickso)

2020 might well be Farrelly’s most memorable year to date. A major role played in the Peas run to a league and cup double was kindly complimented by a standout performance against her eventual new home Glasgow City in the Champions League Qualifying Round. Despite losing to the Scottish Champions, it was still a memorable night for Farrelly and her Peamount teammates. Heading into the game, the Irish champions were given no chance. Up against a footballing powerhouse in Glasgow City, the odds were stacked against James O’ Callaghan’s squad. The Dublin outfit however came agonisingly close to causing a major upset, as they brought the might of Glasgow to a penalty shootout, eventually losing out 6-5 as the nation watched on in hope. 

 

Niamh Farrelly in action for Peamount against Glasgow City in the Champions League Qualifier in 2020. Photo: 2020 SNS Group

Despite the heartache of defeat that night, Farrelly’s performance caught the eye of Glasgow boss Scott Booth and before too long, contact was made and it was an opportunity Farrelly had been working towards. Often complimented by her teammates as one of the hardest working players they know, when the call came for Farrelly she duly obliged and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Having discussed the offer with Irish boss Vera Pauw, the Dutch woman encouraged Farrelly to go for it, with similar ambitions of a favoured route of development at the top of both women’s agendas. With so many of the Irish senior squad operating overseas in a professional lifestyle, training five days a week in comparison to two back home, it was a decision Farrelly felt would allow for her to progress her football career and in turn pave the way for her to become a regular Irish senior international.

Having made the move to west-central Scotland in late 2020, Farrelly met initial frustrations upon the suspension of the league given the misfortunate Covid-19 pandemic which had taken a tight grip on the world. Fast forward a couple of months and it was her time to impress. Come early April, she eventually got to make her highly anticipated professional debut and things couldn’t have gone much better for the young Dubliner. Scoring the final goal in a 3-0 win over Celtic, deservingly followed by the player of the match gong. The dream start to life as a professional.

Following the peaks of a goalscoring debut, the former St Joseph’s College student unfortunately picked up a knock which would in turn keep her out of action for a spell, meaning she would also be omitted from Vera Pauw’s matchday squads for clashes against Denmark and Belgium in early April having been named in the squad back in March. Farrelly didn’t rest on her laurels however. Having worked hard to return to fitness after a spell on the sidelines, she returned to the fray last week, only to score again in a 3-1 victory over Hearts! Quite the return for the impressive midfielder.

Following on from her second goal, Farrelly took to the field on Sunday night in a clash with Spartans, with the opportunity to go three points clear of Celtic at the top of the table with only a game remaining, whilst also having the chance to secure Champions League qualification. The 22 year old showed no signs of letting up her rich vein of form as she again goaled, this time with her head, as Glasgow stormed to a 6-2 victory over Spartans,  making it three from three for the former Peamount United star.

With the final round of the Scottish league pencilled in for next Sunday against Rangers, Farrelly will hope to finish the season on a high and bring to a conclusion a fine first club campaign as a professional football player. Farrelly has become quite the role model for many aspiring young Irish players and with Vera Pauw’s senior squad set to play two warm up clashes with Iceland on June the 11th and 15th ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers, Farrelly will hope to force her way into Pauw’s plans and carry her flying form into the International setup.

Gavin Dalton

Gavin Dalton is in the final year of BA Journalism in Technological University Dublin. Gavin has worked with the Echo and IrishFootballFanTV in reporting and creating content and has experience covering women's sport. Gavin completed his dissertation on the level of coverage dedicated to the Ladies' Senior Football Championship in the national print media. LinkedIn | Twitter: @:GavinDalton16 |

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