IT'S just a few days before Cork City’s major test against Peamount United in the Women’s FAI Cup Final but Éabha O’Mahony has just faced two exams of her own.
“They were fine I suppose, let’s just say that,” she tells the Echo, some hours after completing her Geography and Biology papers.
After a couple of her examinations were postponed recently because she was away with the Republic of Ireland senior squad, the sixth-year student couldn’t push back a couple more, although Ballincollig Community School has been accommodating in other areas.
“The school is really supportive of me to be fair. On Tuesday I even had to leave early for a photoshoot and stuff but they were fine with that so they are very good to me,” she adds.
The week previous, O’Mahony was returning home from Dublin following a nine-day camp with the Ireland squad for their final Euro 2021 qualifier against Germany, a game they ultimately lost 3-1.
Despite making the final squad, the 18-year-old was omitted from the matchday panel but she will certainly remain in Vera Pauw’s thoughts (should the boss extend her contract) after the manager admitted the youngster is similar to her as a footballer.
“I’ve never seen footage of her playing, you’d be looking on YouTube but there was nothing really there,” admits O’Mahony.
“I have no doubt playing for the Netherlands that she was unreal quality so it was a compliment that she said that about me.
“These things (being left out) happen but I was just happy to be back in their thoughts and back in the extended squad because it has been over a year since I was last called up. It just motivates me to work harder anyway.
“I love going into camp with older girls and just seeing how they act. It’s good to even train with such high-level footballers like that, everything was just one and two touch so it’s really enjoyable and motivating.
“When you’re coming up against players from the likes of Arsenal and Brighton, it’s a very good place to learn. You are just like a sponge soaking it all in, you live and you learn from experiences like that.”
The City star returned to the heart of City’s team last Saturday and ensured her club got the win that they needed against Galway to seal a fourth-place finish in Women’s National League, their highest finish in 10 years.
“It was another milestone achieved for the club, we are moving upwards and onwards,” she enthused.
“You can see that we are even making small improvements each week. Even tonight (Tuesday) before training we were going through our shots from the last four games, our duals won, and things like that.
“Our stats would be increasing by like two or three percent in pass completion, passes forward, they’re increasing by a minute amount but it’s very motivating for us to see we’re going the right way.
“We’re getting rewarded for our hard work even though we’re not winning the league or anything, it’s still better than last season. But we are better than our last game, we are better than yesterday.”
O’Mahony has also progressed significantly after making the switch from left-back to centre-midfielder this campaign and now she is hoping to lead her side to FAI Cup glory for the first time since 2017 against a talented Peamount side.
“To be honest…..I can’t wait,” she beams.
“My favourtie thing to do is to play a soccer match on a good pitch and Tallaght is in superb condition.
“We were on it last week with Ireland and the grass is unreal but just to be competing in the final on live television is huge.
“A few girls are getting their hair and their nails done and stuff (she laughs) - that’s not really me, to be honest now - but no, I’m just looking forward to getting out on the pitch and playing.
“Hopefully, we’re all in top form and a good performance is all we can ask for. If we play well and do the things we want to do then you never know what will happen on the day.
“I wasn’t at it (2017 final) but I was watching it and you could see the joy on their faces afterwards.
“That’s what is really vivid to me now, just the pictures after and you could see the pure joy of winning. That’s what all the hard work is for.
“All that positivity around it, it became a dream then but we’ll put in a good shift and see what happens.”