In some ways you have to feel sorry for Jessica Gargan when it comes to making the right-back position her own at Shelbourne.

You see there is no shortage of competition for that spot. Gargan may be in control of it now but one bad performance might alter things with Keeva Keenan, Rachael Graham and Jess Ziu all capable of taking over.

Yet it is a credit to Gargan that she is keeping the position ahead of Keenan, who is an exceptional player and has returned to The Reds following a few years abroad playing for Glasgow City and Celtic. Many would have felt that Keenan would be an automatic starter but Gargan has been in superb form for the past 18 months.

Of course, Gargan and Keenan are different players. So it’s a question of what manager Noel King wants from his right-back when the decision needs to be made to fill out the team sheet each week. And, right now, Gargan is ticking all of the right boxes.

The Dubliner showed a lot of promise at underage level with Peamount United, where she operated mainly as a winger. She was part of the Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-19 squad that went to the UEFA European Championship semi-finals in 2014 and then spent a few years at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

After coming home from the United States, she was stronger, fitter and more confident in her play. She has improved each aspect of her game, including her heading with an 80% win rate at aerial duels. On top of that, her passing has become more reliable as she does not take unnecessary risks, which explains the 70% completion rate.

Gargan, who is now 25 years old, is a right-back who links well with her fellow defenders, connects with the midfield and supports the winger ahead of her. She can play in a variety of systems, adapting from being a cautious, defensive-minded full-back to a more aggressive, forward-bursting player who can make overlapping runs.

The beauty of Gargan’s play is that she knows when to mix it up and when to stay still. A good example of that was the 1-0 win over Peamount United in early May. She hardly put a foot out of place and was defensively strong throughout, while she also set up the winning goal with a superb burst forward and cross from the right flank.

If she continues to perform to the high standard that she has set for herself, then a recall to the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team set-up may not be too far away. She is already part of the WNT Home-Based Training sessions, so she is clearly catching the eye of the Ireland management.

The next thing on the agenda, however, is the next game. Gargan has learnt not to ever get too ahead of herself and that is why she is one of Shelbourne’s outstanding players so far this season.