Sarah McKillen in action for Comber Rec Ladies (c) AM Photography
Tuesday, 04 June 2019
Sarah McKillen of Danske Bank Women's Premiership newcomers Comber Rec Lades insists their team spirit in the top-flight is unbreakable having been with the club since their formation in 2012.
Aged just 21, McKillen is closing in on her 100th first-team appearance for the club, with whom she has won three promotions including in each of the past two seasons.
Comber have predictably struggled for form over their first six league matches - collecting just one point - but that has not stopped the positivity surrounding the club.
“Winning three promotions at this club has been a really special achievement for me,” explained McKillen.
“It makes it feel particularly special now to be playing in the Premiership and against the level of opponents we are, because it reminds you just how far we have come.
“There are a lot of younger players who look up to our first-team players and they ask for your autographs after the game, which makes you feel really special and feel like a bit of a celebrity!
“We are going through a spell now where we have five games in 17 days so there’s a huge demand on our squad at the moment and we don’t have a massive squad.
“Leigh Skelton and Jodie Shannon have both come in this season and have been great for us, they’ve fitted right into the squad.
“We are improving our performances every week and nobody in this squad is going to give anything but 100 percent this year.”
A Monday night cup victory over Derry on penalties has given hope that Winky Kerr’s side can start to add more points to their league tally over the coming weeks.
“This season was always going to be very tough, but our team spirit has always been brilliant and that won’t change,” McKillen continued.
“We have won promotion two seasons in a row but the jump from the Championship into the Premier League is massive but we are trying to adapt and we will always believe in ourselves.
“On Monday we defeated Derry City in the cup and that’s the first time we have defeated a topflight side, so it’s all about taking these steps and learning along the way.
“In the first few games we were really nervous and couldn’t play our normal game but now we are playing a bit of football and creating chances.
“Derry are a club who have had a lot of time to grow in the top flight and that is something we have to look towards to.
“Recently we held Cliftonville for 47 minutes before conceding and it’s when you can see the small improvements like that when we will keep our heads up and trying to grow.”
Comber are averaging over 100 fans per game and McKillen insists that having a team in the women’s top flight is a big deal for the area.
“This club has had amazing levels of support from the very start,” she added.
“A woman’s team from Comber had never been heard of before we were formed and when we formed a lot of the people involved in the men’s team were influential in that.
“A lot of them are always going to our games and vice versa and that aspect of this club is really special, and we all try to help each other out.
“One of the player’s dad always comes with big balloons and there’s always a really good atmosphere here that makes you feel like you’re playing in front of even more people.
“That spurs you along, even with the support from all the junior teams is fantastic and it’s fantastic to see all that support turn out regularly for us - there is a very loyal support base here.”
Tags: Comber Rec. Ladies
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