Champions Peamount United make statement of intent as internationals Steph Roche and Tiegan Ruddy sign for 2020

Thu, Feb 27 2020

Roche training ahead of last September's Euro 2021 qualifier at home to Montenegro. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Peamount United have announced the return of Republic of Ireland internationals Stephanie Roche and Tiegan Ruddy to the club ahead of the new season.

The league champions have been busy in the off-season, with striker Alannah McEvoy having arrived from Shelbourne, and have now added Sadbh Doyle from Galway and the return of Sara McKevitt.

McKevitt left the Peas to sign for Wexford Youths ahead of the 2019 season but parted company with the club midway through the season.

Doyle has been one of the stars of a rapidly-improving Galway outfit in recent years but due to college commitments in Dublin has opted to play her football in the capital this year.

19-year-old playmaker Ruddy is unlikely to feature until the summer as she continues to recover from a serious injury sustained last year.

Ruddy had been on a scholarship in the United States with Central Connecticut State University but she has opted to continue her career post-recovery back in the national league.

The most eye-catching of the five new signings is striker Roche, who has most recently been playing in Italy with Serie A outfit Florentia.

A globetrotting career, sparked by her nomination for the FIFA Puskas Award in 2014, has seen her spend time in exotic climes ranging from France and the United States to Sunderland.

“Steph has been on amazing journey since she got that amazing goal,” manager James O’Callaghan told extratime.ie.

“She was finishing up in Italy and it was an opportunity to bring her back to Peamount, and she’s another exciting player.

“We were looking at strengthening our attacking options – we already have good attacking players in the team but it’s about strengthening that.

“That’s why we brought in Alannah McEvoy, a very exciting attacking player, and also the likes of Steph.”

He added: “Sadhbh is in college up in Dublin and it was hard for her to leave Galway, because she is really close to the girls, so we’re delighted to get her.

“Also Sara McKevitt is coming back, who was with Wexford last year, another former Peamount player coming back to us.

“Tiegan came back from America and she’s been in recovery from injury, so she’s not really going to be available until mid-season. Tiegan is a very good playmaker in midfield and a very good signing.”

O’Callaghan revealed that under-17 stars Della Doherty and Becky Watkins have been dual-registered for the 2020 season and he doesn’t expect to add any more players before March 15th.

“Della and Becky are coming up from the 17s and have been dual-signed. A lot of our players are young, in their late teens, as well and we’ve mixed it in with a lot of experience in the team now.

“You’d like to think there’s a lot of competition and there’ll be a lot of players fighting to get their places in the team, and that’s only a good thing.”