Rebecca Creagh: We just have to go into single game this season like it's a cup final

Wed, Mar 20 2019

Creagh in action for Shelbourne. Credit: Clare McCahill (ETPhotos)

Brendan Graham reports from Tolka Park.

Just shy of three months ago, Shelbourne striker Rebecca Creagh sat down with Extratime.ie days before pre-season was due to begin.

Understandably with the frustrating few years she has had with injuries and with the length of time she has been out of the game, there were nerves and apprehension but also an excitement as to what lay ahead for herself and her team-mates as they faced into a new season.

With the new season still in its infancy and just two rounds of fixtures completed, no one is getting carried away but there are plenty of positives for Creagh to take already on both a personal level and from the team’s overall performances so far too.

A hat-trick on Saturday afternoon against Limerick WFC has seen her bag four goals in the opening two games and possibly more importantly the positive start to the season that she has enjoyed has seen her passion for the game return too.

Having endured a horrific few years since 2016 with injuries that in the end led to her taking a complete break from the game having fallen out of love with it, the striker has scored four goals in the opening two games. The Dubliner is really enjoying her football again but taking it one day at a time.

“The good start personally is huge for me and means so much to me after the few years I’ve had” said Creagh after Saturdays 5-0 win over Limerick WFC.

“Obviously in pre-season you are a bit apprehensive with plenty of different thoughts and wondering what way the year is going to go, will I be still able to compete and things like that. Thankfully I have great players around me that help me so much up front.

"I’m feeling good and really enjoying football again which is the main thing for me and something that is so important

“Some of the goals were a bit scrappy but the girls knew when I got my goals on Saturday how much it meant to me after such a frustrating time with injuries. You miss it so much when you are away, the banter in the dressing room and the team spirit we have as a group and to be back involved with that again is amazing.

“I’ll still just take it week by week though, one training session at a time, one match at a time and hopefully sooner rather than later I’ll get to peak fitness for myself. I am so grateful to be back playing and I’ll be doing everything I can to try and stay in the team.

 “We have internationals right through the team from U17 up to senior level so it’s not going to be easy but I’m looking forward to the challenge. We are a huge squad and we are going to need every single player within the squad at some stage.”

The teams went in scoreless at the break and credit to Limerick they did so well in the first half to keep the home side out and keep themselves in the game. Having enjoyed so much possession in the opening half Creagh was confident if they continued playing the way they had been in the first half that the goals would come and she was proved to be correct.

On the hour mark the first goal arrived and after that the goals certainly did come with Dave Bell’s Shelbourne side running out 5-0 winners.

 “If you look at the first half I think we probably had over 80% of possession but we just couldn’t make it count in the final third and our end product let us down. Going in at half time we knew ourselves it would only be a matter of time and when we got into the dressing room we had a chat and Dave came in as well and had a word with us and we all agreed we would just have to dig deep and stick to what we know best.

“I think it just comes down to patience to be honest, a few years ago if we were in the same situation we may have just started hoofing the ball up top and hope for the best but we kept probing it and kept recycling the ball with the belief that our hard work would eventually lead to goals which it did.

“When you are up top like that as well and there is a back line of five it gets rough for us. We knew we were going to be swarmed anytime we got the ball so we were delighted once the first goal did come because we really had been made work hard for it.

“I think that is something that was drilled into us during pre-season that no matter what happens we stick to what we know we can do and that’s to play football and eventually it will pay off. We know we have got quality passers of the ball and also players that can dribble well with the ball and take players on too.

"We have the experience within the team now to trust ourselves and trust our system, once the first goal came we knew it would get that little bit easier. Not panicking was key for us on Saturday and thankfully we got a good result out of it.”

Maximum points so far and a goal difference of +14 from two games is as good as they could have asked for in the early weeks of the season but last year’s champions  Wexford Youths have picked up two wins from two as well and Creagh insists nobody will be getting carried away.

“I think we all agree within the team that it’s ok to be confident and be delighted with the start we’ve had but just do not get cocky or carried away with it. Playing well is great but to avoid complacency we need to ensure we focus on the things we didn’t do well or even just could have done better in games.

“We have had a great start but you can’t look too much into it. Every game that we play now is 100% focus on that game while we are playing it and we will have forgotten about the game we played previously. We just have to go into every single game this season like it’s a cup final.

"A lot of teams will do that towards the latter end of the season when it’s getting towards the business end of things but our approach this season is to treat every single game this year as a cup final and hopefully with that attitude we can be very successful.”