After a hugely promising start to the campaign, there is no way that those within the Ireland squad felt anything other than massive disappointment at the end of their European Championships qualifying group.
Vera Pauw's side had started the group with some excellent results, but a couple of disappointing results away from home to Greece and Ukraine would ultimately cost them a potential place at the finals in England next year.
However, there was certainly plenty of positives to take into the next campaign. This is a young team, with a number of players emerging on the international stage. They have also picked up plenty of big game experience, something that will no doubt stand to them going forward.
Then you have the fact that manager Vera Pauw has signed on for the World Cup qualifiers.
Speaking to members of the media as part of the launch of the SPAR FAI School Zone, Ireland striker Amber Barrett said that Pauw staying on for another campaign, coupled with their disappointment in how their last group finished up, will help motivate the players in their attempts to reach a first ever World Cup finals in 2023.
Speaking to Vera, she said she always had it in heart to stay on, I think there was just a few things that needed to be sorted out on whatever end.
For us going forward it’s good to have the familiarity of the coach and her backroom team. It’s definitely going to bring us from strength to strength going into the next campaign...
We just have use every little bit of hardship and every bit of disappointment and bring it into the next campaign. Unfortunately the last couple of years seems to have been that close and then just end up missing out.
It was the same in the last campaign, where I think most of the girls would agree that it was the most disappointing that we've had over the last number of years.
We started off so well and were in such a good position, but it’s just the way the group ended up. It is definitely something that we will take into the next campaign.
One of the first things Vera said to us after the Germany game at home was ‘remember this feeling and this is not going to happen to us again’. I think having that message is really important going forward.
Barrett didn't play as much as she would have wanted in the most recent campaign, but she has made major strides in her club career.
After being a prolific goalscorer for Peamount United for a number of years, the Donegal native would earn a move to Bundesliga side FC Köln. While last season would end in relegation, Barrett made major strides on a personal level.
She has thoroughly enjoyed the experience, even if it has been massively disrupted by a global pandemic.
When I arrived out here I certainly wasn’t expecting a global pandemic to come and sweep everything to the side.
It’s still something that I’m learning everyday, when I go in and just see how things are done. I’m still adapting everyday to professional standard and what’s expected of you...
(Life in Germany) is a lot different. The biggest thing for me is that the public transport arrives on time! In Ireland that certainly never happens. For me it’s a brilliant thing, if the bus is at 10:30 you have to be there for 10:30 of you won’t be getting on it. Just little things like that.
The whole coronavirus experience has been a different one. It’s nearly gone back to normal here, but it’s not gone back to normal. A lockdown still exists, but they’ve started to ease things. More people are confident about going out and doing everything safely.
Life in Germany perhaps hasn't been as difficult for many as it has in Ireland. From speaking to friends and family, Barrett said it seems as though restrictions are much tougher in this part of the world.
That includes when it comes to sport, with group training severely restricted at the moment outside of 'elite athletes'. Inter-county GAA is one sport to miss out, a game Barrett knows well having played for Donegal for a number of years.
She said she can imagine how tough it must be for the people involved in those teams, with their exclusion from 'elite' status something she can't quite understand.
When I compare it to my period in lockdown in Germany last year with no training, mentally it’s so beneficial.
I think the way the ‘elite’ status has been in Ireland has been at times quite confusing, who gets it and doesn’t get it. I think I read something recently that a lot of Athletics Ireland athletes weren’t granted special circumstances to train and stuff like that.
It’s your own perception about what is elite, but I know from playing county for the amount of time that I did that those girls are amateur yes, but they are elite athletes. They dedicate themselves day in and day out to making themselves available for selection and to prepare.
Of course I can sympathise with everybody, but it’s hard to full sympathise because I’m one of the lucky ones that was able to train and play.
SPAR FAI School Zone was launched today by current Republic of Ireland women’s footballer, Amber Barrett.
SPAR FAI School Zone is a new digital learning initiative that has been designed by the FAI and sponsored by SPAR for teachers and parents of primary school children in 4th, 5th and 6th class offering interactive and engaging lesson plans designed with both the classroom and home schooling in mind. Register SPAR FAI School Zone for today at: https://www.fai.ie/domestic/spar-fai-school-zone/register
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