Horgan's hard work starting to pay off
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 3:17PM BST, Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Last season was immensely successful for the Charlton women’s team, with three trophies and an impressive run to the FA Women’s Cup quarter finals helping the club win plaudits from many.
FA Women’s Premier League (FAWPL), Ryman and Capital Cup successes against Sheffield, Tottenham and West Ham respectively brought a haul of silverware, while a heartbreaking penalty shootout loss against Everton in the FA Cup helped put the club back on the women’s football map.
However, those successes meant their campaign lasted for 41 matches (five more than champions Portsmouth) – and five of those went to extra time, with three going all the way to penalties.
Charlton’s final 12 matches of the season came within just 47 days, and a week that included the FAWPL and Capital Cup finals culminated in their only home defeat of the season – a 4-1 reverse against Cardiff City where the players were noticeably tired.
To that end, the Addicks appointed former Munster and London Wasps rugby player Padraig Horgan as strength and conditioning coach for the current season.
Horgan has been working all senior teams, but especially the first team, hard throughout pre-season and the early part of the term, getting them into the best shape possible.
And Charlton’s two victories this season against Tottenham suggest that has been working, with both coming thanks to winners late on in the game. Match commentary on their 4-1 win over Pompey also described the south-east Londoners as ‘fit and strong’, a testament to the work done thus far.
Speaking about his role, Horgan said: “From speaking to some of the girls, they were saying they were getting tired towards the end of matches last year – that won’t happen this year.
“My goal here is to get the girls fit enough to win the league and that’s what I am here to do. From what I’ve seen so far they have a good standard of fitness and now I’m looking to take them to the next level.
“When I started they were comfortable enough, but now hopefully they won’t have to be comfortable – they’ll be able to tear teams apart.
“Hopefully we will start seeing the benefits of what we’ve been doing in the next month or so.”
Injury prevention is another part of the job for Horgan, with Charlton’s 2013/14 season being a write-off thanks, in the main, to a plethora of cruciate injuries.
Those ‘ACL Club’ players included some key players like captain Kim Dixson and this season’s FAWPL top goalscorer Gemma Shepherd.
But Horgan insists that will be another thing of the past, with just the one long-term absentee so far, new signing Grace Seely, whose impact injury was sustained during a pre-season friendly.
“Another big thing I’m looking to bring in is very little injuries,” Horgan added.
“Lack of injuries is a big thing for my job; if they’re conditioned properly they shouldn’t pick up injuries. Small ones, of course are always going to happen, but the likes of your cruciate ligaments shouldn’t really happen.”