TOMORROW, the Republic of Ireland women’s Under 19 face another friendly game against Northern Ireland in Belfast and four Cork girls are part of Dave Connell’s squad, who have already played one game last night against the same opposition but in Dublin
Up to last night's game it had been 15 months since the U19s played a game, but they are looking forward to the international friendly which is expected to be another tough encounter.
The Girls in Green will travel up to Belfast to play the game and for Head coach Dave Connell, this is a welcome return to action even if it is the first time that he, and his staff, will be working with this particular group of players.
The games are needed, however, as the WU19s have the 2021/22 UEFA Women’s Under-19 European Championships circled on their calendars with qualifiers against England, Northern Ireland and Switzerland to come later this year.
“It’s great to be able to get back working with a squad again after such a long time. We all fully understand why underage international football had to be suspended with a global pandemic affecting people’s lives – so we won’t take this opportunity for granted and will continue to follow all of the recommended protocols," Connell said.
“For these two games, we have a chance to work with a group of talented players in what should be two good tests against Northern Ireland.
"The aim is to identify the players who will be part of our squad when we start our EURO Qualifying campaign in October.
“We are looking forward to getting back onto the pitch and working towards the goal of qualifying for the European Championships in Czech Republic. There is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but we’re ready to get going.”
Several of the players selected have already featured in this season’s SSE Airtricity Women’s National League for their respective clubs, while Jessie Stapleton, Shauna Brennan, Aoibheann Clancy, Muireann Devaney and Aoife Horgan have been called up for the Ireland WNT Home-Based Training Sessions.
Four Cork girls are part of Connell’s squad for this weeks friendlies, all of whom are playing in the women’s national leagues.
Laura Shine, Eva Mangan and Meghan Carr from Cork City and also included is Treaty United’s Olivia Gibson.
Shine, Gibson and Mangan have been part of the International set up at U16 and U17 level but for Carr it’s a first call up.
Shine started her football with Blarney United before switching to Wilton United where she really shone as a top striker in the league in an excellent side that really brought out the best in her.
Her quick pace and strong physique have been huge factors in her progression and although she may not have got as much playing time as expected under Rónán Collins at Cork City, I expect her to be a big player for Connell’s side.
Mangan played her schoolgirls soccer with Carrigaline before signing for Cork City U17s.
Mangan has a natural talent and has been a key player in the middle of the park this season for Cork City senior women’s, also scoring against Peamount which has been one of her highlights.
Carr signed with City from Lakewood at U17 level. She is a pacy winger and although she never received the call up to Cork City senior women’s, I have no doubt she will feature for City 19s when their season begins.
Gibson, now at Treaty United is a very talented forward. She has a great eye for goal and began her career at Riverstown, then moved to Wilton and Passage before she joined Cork City.
The girls will be together in the squad for a week and this will be a huge opportunity for them to showcase their talent before Connell selects his final squad ahead of the Euro Qualifying campaign due to start in October.
Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-19 Squad Goalkeepers: Ciara Glackin (Athlone Town), Leah Hayes Cohen (Cork City), Rugile Auskalnyte (DLR Waves) Defenders: Olivia Milner (Aston Villa), Meghan Carr (Cork City), Jessie Stapleton (Shelbourne), Abby Tuthill (Shamrock Rovers), Eve O’Sullivan (Treaty United), Chloe Smullen (Peamount United), Shauna Brennan (Galway WFC) Midfielders: Aoibheann Clancy (Wexford Youths), Emily Corbet (Athlone Town), Jessica Neville (Leicester City), Melissa O’Kane (Athlone Town), Nicola McNamara (Galway WFC), Muireann Devaney (Athlone Town), Teegán Lynch (Sion Swifts), Olivia Gibson (Treaty United), Maria Reynolds (Shamrock Rovers), Eva Mangan (Cork City), Jenna Slattery (Treaty United) Forwards: Laura Shine (Cork City), Abbie Callanan (Galway WFC), Rebecca Watkins (Peamount United), Erin McLaughlin (Sion Swifts), Aoife Horgan (Treaty United), Orlagh Fitzpatrick (Peamount United).