Four Cork players included in Irish squad for crucial qualifier

Trip to Georgia was rearranged from last September and a win will move Ireland closer to the World Cup
Four Cork players included in Irish squad for crucial qualifier

Megan Connolly of Republic of Ireland crosses the ball in Gothenburg, Sweden. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

CORK natives Saoirse Noonan, Denise O’Sullivan, Megan Connolly, and Éabha O’Mahony have been called up to the Republic of Ireland senior women’s squad for their crucial World Cup qualifier against Georgia.

In total, the Irish women’s national team will bring 27 players to Georgia for their next 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying game in Group A on Monday, June 27.

This is a rearranged fixture from September 17, 2021, when Covid restrictions were in place. It was agreed that Ireland would host Georgia on November 30, 2021, and then travel to Georgia in June 2022.

The Girls in Green won that previous fixture 11-0 with O’Sullivan netting a hat-trick, while Connolly also got on the scoresheet and Noonan claimed her first goal at senior level.

Pauw has given a first senior call-up to goalkeeper Naoisha McAloon, who joined Durham WFC in the English Championship last season, while defender Diane Caldwell returns after missing the draw away to Sweden in April.

Peamount United forward Stephanie Roche is recalled to the squad for the first time since November 2019, when she earned her 55th senior cap in the draw away to Greece.

The Wexford Youths duo of Aoibheann Clancy and Ellen Molloy are unavailable due to sitting their Leaving Certificate exams, while injuries rule out Megan Campbell, Aoife Colvill, Rianna Jarrett, Leanne Kiernan, Kyra Carusa, and former Cork City defender Savannah McCarthy.

There are seven current SSE Airtricity Women’s National League players included, while another 10 players previously featured in the local league.

In order to build up the players’ fitness, with most now in their off-season, Pauw recently organised two games against boys teams to replace the regular Home-Based Training Sessions at the FAI National Training Centre.

The squad departed Dublin on Wednesday – after undergoing a light training session – and headed for Antalya, Turkey for a training camp that will also see them take on the Philippines in an International Friendly game.

On Saturday, June 25, Ireland will arrive in Tbilisi to step up preparations for the qualifier against Georgia, which will be live on RTÉ2 and worldwide on the RTÉ Player.

Republic of Ireland WNT Squad:

Goalkeepers: 

Courtney Brosnan (Everton), Megan Walsh (Brighton & Hove Albion), Grace Moloney (Reading), Naoisha McAloon (Durham).

Defenders: 

Jess Ziu (Shelbourne), Louise Quinn (Birmingham City), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Diane Caldwell (Manchester United), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Jessie Stapleton (Shelbourne), Éabha O’Mahony (Boston College), Áine O’Gorman (Peamount United), Chloe Mustaki (Shelbourne).

Midfielders: 

Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ruesha Littlejohn (Aston Villa), Jamie Finn (Birmingham City), Ciara Grant (Hearts), Lily Agg (London City Lionesses), Roma McLaughlin (Connecticut Fusion), Lucy Quinn (Birmingham City).

Forwards: 

Heather Payne (Florida State University), Amber Barrett (FC Koln), Abbie Larkin (Shelbourne), Stephanie Roche (Peamount United), Saoirse Noonan (Shelbourne).

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