Irish women’s national team manager Vera Pauw has revealed her 23 woman squad that will face Iceland on June 11th and 15th.
The double header of friendly matches marks the final outing for her side before their 2023 World Cup qualification process gets underway in September.
Headlines visible from the team selection include eight domestic Women’s National League picks, one of which amassed is Ciara Grant who hasn’t before been called up under the current manager, despite having dawned the green of the Ireland jersey on 15 other occasions amongst previous regimes.
Roma McLaughlin of Central Connecticut State University in America also earned herself an international recall, with 5 senior caps to her name to date.
With injury having struck some major names such as Ruesha Littlejohn, Ellen Molloy, Emily Whelan and Marie Hourihan out, Pauw is keen to assure her team and the fans that they will have to “turn a negative into a positive” against the “fantastic opponent” they take on in Reykjavik next week.
“We went for a strong opponent because we only have one more slot to go before the qualification starts. We think that if we get under that pressure we can also build on our technique better than against a weaker opponent. If we had went to the level of Germany then we wouldn’t be able to develop on our technical play, but against Iceland we feel that we can jump a level on both sides, both defensively and attacking wise and that is why we went for this opponent” she says.
“We have a few new players in that we can test also and that was unfortunate because of a few injuries, but on the other hand if you turn negative into a positive it also gives the opportunity for young and promising players to have their games.”
“I’m not saying that everybody will get a game, we’ll see how it goes but the plan is that we make a jump in our playing style and from there that we want to go for performance. It’s time that we win against an opponent that is ranked much higher than us so that would be the aim.”
“It’s not anymore that we’ll see what we can do and we’ll try, but it’s really that we feel we’re going to fight for a place, we’re going to fight at least to get to play-offs. It’s not that we don’t think we have a chance, we think that the way that we’re growing at this moment that by the time we’re playing [the qualifiers] that we’re more ready because we’ve played more within the systems that we’ve tried and we feel that we’ve the best balance now in our playing style.”
Republic of Ireland WNT Squad
Goalkeepers: Grace Moloney (Reading), Courtney Brosnan (Unattached), Eve Badana (DLR Waves)
Defenders: Keeva Keenan (Celtic), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Niamh Farrelly (Glasgow City), Louise Quinn (Fiorentina), Diane Caldwell (North Carolina Courage), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Claire Walsh (Peamount United), Éabha O’Mahony (Cork City), Áine O’Gorman (Peamount United)
Midfielders: Jamie Finn (Shelbourne), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ciara Grant (Shelbourne), Roma McLaughlin (Connecticut Fusion), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne), Katie McCabe (Arsenal)
Forwards: Heather Payne (Florida State University), Rianna Jarrett (Unattached), Amber Barrett (FC Koln), Saoirse Noonan (Shelbourne)
Both games are available to watch on RTÉ Player.