FIVE players from the Cork City Women’s U17 side have been called up to the Republic of Ireland U17 squad for two friendlies this week which their manager Sarah Healy has described as a “fantastic achievement”.
Grace Fitzpatrick, Meabh Russell, Ellie O'Brien, Grace Flanagan, and Chloe Atkinson are included in the Irish U17 selection for the double-header against Northern Ireland with the first game taking place in Dublin today followed by a trip to Belfast on Friday.
“This is a fantastic achievement for the players individually and us as a club,” Healy told the Echo.
“Three of these players, Ellie O’Brien, Grace Flanagan, and Grace Fitzpatrick all recently played for the U16s in their camp last month vs England.
“It is excellent to see these players progress to the next level of international and to be called into the 17s squad.
“Both Meabh Russell and Chloe Atkinson have been called into an international squad for the first time and we are so delighted for them for their achievements.
“They have shown great determination to improve week after week and their efforts on the pitch have now been noticed and rewarded.
“I can’t praise these players enough. They have a super attitude and work tirelessly to get this opportunity and we would like to wish them the best of luck.
“There are also other players in our squad that has been knocking on the door and may have been unlucky this time. All the players involved in our squad this year are all super talented players.
“As a club, we are always improving and striving to do the best for our players and that’s why it is a great club to be involved with.”
These two friendlies will be vital preparation for Ireland ahead of their UEFA Women's U17 European Championship qualifiers in October when they will take on Bulgaria, Hungary, and Norway and Head Coach James Scott is now looking forward to working with his squad.
"It is great to have these two games in August as we are working with an entirely new squad of players so we have a lot of work to do - on and off the pitch - to be ready for the qualifiers in two months' time,” he said.
"We have been busy watching a lot of games, at all levels, around the country and feel that we have selected a strong squad for what should be two good tests for us in the games against Northern Ireland.
"We know that being able to play these games is a bonus so it's up to us to make the most of them."