Cork's Amanda Budden thrilled to be playing Champions League after Shels clinch title in dramatic fashion

The 27-year-old from Grange was disappointed not to complete the double but Shelbourne's stunning league win will live for Budden for the rest of her life.
Cork's Amanda Budden thrilled to be playing Champions League after Shels clinch title in dramatic fashion

Shelbourne goalkeeper Amanda Budden, left, and Saoirse Noonan celebrate after the SSE Airtricity Women's National League match between Shelbourne and Wexford Youths at Tolka Park in Dublin. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

CHAMPIONS of Ireland, winning the golden glove and a chance to play in the Champions league next year. 

Could life be any better for goalkeeper Amanda Budden?

The 27-year-old from Grange was disappointed not to complete the double at the weekend losing the cup final to Wexford, however their league win a few days earlier was won in the most dramatic of ways, a moment that will live for Budden for the rest of her life.

“It’s actually mad I still can't believe it, Champions League like!” laughs Budden.

Heading into the final league game of the season, Shels had to beat Wexford and hope for Peamount to drop points against Galway for at least a play-off which looked very unlikely for most, however with the way Galway were performing I always felt this was a possibility, however, nobody expected things to unfold the way they did.

“I’m still in shock to be honest because we were convinced Peamount had it won. We didn't even get stressed or worried about the score. Our aim was just to keep our unbeaten home run going.

“All we could do was hope to finish the game out with a win against Wexford and pray Galway were putting up a good fight against Peamount. 

"We genuinely didn't even consider the other game but at some point, I sneakily asked someone behind the goal what the score was and it was 2-1 to Peamount. 

"I just kept my head down and literally blessed myself and prayed. Half time whistle went and we found out it was 2-2. 

Shelbourne goalkeeper Amanda Budden. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Shelbourne goalkeeper Amanda Budden. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

"Personally, I thought Peas were going to come out in the second half and absolutely hammer them. Second half was underway and after a while of playing we had scored another. 

"Then there were roars louder than I’ve ever heard from the stands.

“I had the ball at my feet at the time for a goal kick and I thought I had done something wrong, everyone was looking around wondering did something happen. 

"Someone shouted it’s 3-2 to Galway and I got butterflies in my stomach. I think everyone got extremely excited but also a lot more nervous. 

"As the game went on the roars kept happening throughout the stand every so often. We were getting more and more nervous. 

"Wexford were piling on the pressure. Kylie (Murphy) scored a rocket for Wexford and a sloppy goal went in. It was 3-2.

“Everyone on the pitch knew the league was in our hands at that point and the nerves definitely showed on the pitch. 

"When I heard it was 4-2 to Galway I literally nearly fainted, my chest was pounding, I just kept telling myself keep shouting at the girls to sort the backline and get every single ball that comes near you. 

"They put up the board for injury time, two minutes. It was 3-2 to us and 4-2 to Galway. I could not believe it. 

"I kept shouting 'get to the corner and stay there'. Wexford had a free right outside the box, everyone was back defending and the thoughts going through my head were mental. 

"I got a fist to it and we all scattered out. Pearl was shouting at the referee to blow it up. The whistle went and everyone started sprinting on to the pitch with their hands in the air. No one could believe what was going on, it was unbelievable!

“I genuinely couldn't believe it, I don't think anyone could. 

Amanda Budden, left, and Denise O'Sullivan. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Amanda Budden, left, and Denise O'Sullivan. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"All our faces were in complete shock. 

Hardly anyone even invited family or friends because we were convinced we weren't going to win. 

"It was such a good feeling of excitement, shock, and relief.

“I’ve always said I'd love to win the league just once. Shels are always one of the top contenders for the league and when moving there (from Galway this season) I was hoping we could do it. 

"Throughout the year after losing to Peamount and Wexford we kind of gathered that we lost our chance of winning it. 

"To go out and win the way we did shows how strong the team is overall and it's class to have such good players around you.

“The squad we have is a mix of young and old players. The young girls coming up are doing great in training, they show up every single week, go to every game and sometimes never get a minute playing time for weeks on end and they never complain, they just got on with it. 

"The older girls on the team absolutely hold the team together. Pearl, Rachel and Noelle are unbelievable leaders each in their own way.

The management has been great. Steve, my keeper coach has hands down been my rock up here. 

"I see the girls and Steve more than my family and they have massively impacted my experience in Dublin, they're great!

“I've never even thought about playing in the Champions League, it's something you dream of, especially playing in Ireland. 

"It's still surreal, I don't think it will hit me until closer to the date.” 

The former Wilton United player received an individual award with the most clean sheets in the National League, 12 but her modesty once again allowed her to praise everyone else but herself.

“It’s hard to compliment yourself I suppose because we're all our own biggest critics. 

"I know I have the most clean sheets and it sounds cliche but it genuinely is all down to the girls in front of me. 

"I have made many horrific mistakes throughout the season that will haunt me for life but sure look these things happen. 

"A striker can make 100 mistakes and be man of the match, a keeper can make one mistake and be remembered for it for months, that's football. Winning the golden glove is a huge honour for me though.”

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