Former Cork City keeper Amanda Budden has found her tribe in Galway

Former Cork City keeper Amanda Budden has found her tribe in Galway

Amanda Budden and Denise O'Sullivan of Republic of Ireland following the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifier match against the Netherlands. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

CORK native Amanda Budden was back between the posts on Saturday in Bishopstown. 

However, this time, it was against her former club Cork City, as she lined out for Galway WFC, who pulled off a 2-1 victory over the Leesiders.

Not happy with the set-up at Cork City, and wanting a change, Budden decided to take up the offer of playing for Galway this season, even though it meant moving to Connacht.

“While at City myself and Ronan (Collins) didn’t see eye to eye and I felt it wasn’t a good environment so that simply was the reason I didn’t return to play with them,” said Budden.

“It wasn’t an easy decision moving to Galway, but manager Billy (Clery) asked me to come up to training and see how I get on.

“The girls could not have been nicer and they had a lot to offer so I went with my gut and I am enjoying it ever since.”

Budden began her footballing career with Kilreen boys before eventually switching to College Corinthians girls for a brief spell.

It was however with Wilton United that she played the majority of her schoolgirls' football as a midfielder or striker.

“I made the inter-provincial Munster squad as a midfielder. We had no keeper at one of the training sessions so I said I’d hop in for a skit, and that was how I ended up in goal.

“Dave Bell was the manager at the time and said I wouldn’t start outfield but I would play every game in goal and that was me sold. I just wanted to play."

That group included Irish superstar Denise O'Sullivan.

“Myself and Denise got a call-up to the U17 Irish squad from that tournament and I haven’t left the goal since.

“From there I played with Cork City in and out for a number of years with a number of different managers from Dave, Maurice (Farrell), Frank (Kelleher) and Ronan.

“In between, I went traveling to America and Canada but now back playing and enjoying my time here with Galway.

“I have had a great WNL experience throughout the years. I won’t lie, it is tough knowing that the Dublin teams will always have that edge as people move to Dublin for college and careers, so it gives those teams a boost.

“The National League was founded when I was about 17 so I moved to City for a few years. On paper, we had an unbelievable team and I think people expected us to win the league."

They came third the first year under Dave Bell, a solid showing despite the high expectations placed on the squad.

“Going from local league to National League is a big change and it gave people something to work towards making the Cork team. I loved football and the more training we had the better.”

A delghted Cork City goalkeeper Amanda Budden celebrates at the final whistle after winning the FAI Cup. Picture: Doug Minihane
A delghted Cork City goalkeeper Amanda Budden celebrates at the final whistle after winning the FAI Cup. Picture: Doug Minihane

A former international, Budden played at U16 and U17 level and was also capped once at senior level.

“We had great success under 17s with the International side. We got to the European final and lost on penalties to Spain. From there we went to the World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago and made it to the quarter-final losing 1-0 to South Korea.

“It was an unbelievable experience. I didn’t go straight from underage to senior but I did get called up to the seniors in 2018. We had a good run where we drew with the Netherlands on their home patch who are one of the best teams in the world.

“We didn’t qualify but it was a good campaign and I loved the experience.”

Budden is enjoying her football with a very talented Galway side but is quick to praise the training she received at City and states it was one of her most enjoyable period in football.

“Being a keeper, training with Eve Badana and Ger Keeley as our coach was the best experience for me. Eve is an excellent keeper and I have so much respect for her. It was great to have such good competition at training as both of us were always pushing each other to get the number one spot.

“However, now at Galway life is great. I live with a few of my teammates and the bond on the team is fantastic. We’ve a young but good squad.

“There have been five or six underage girls brought up from the U17s last year and more of them train with us during the week. It’s great to get them involved and there is huge potential. The Galway U17s won the double last year and are on the same track this year winning all their games so far.

“Two of them now start as full-backs for us and they have been superb throughout the season. Shauna Brenna has been unbelievable for us at left-back.

“For the majority of our games so far every player on the pitch has been involved with the Irish squad at some point which shows the potential the squad has so we now look forward to pushing on for Phase two of the league.”

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