25.06.2008 at 19:45 - Carlisle Grounds,Bray
The Republic of Ireland senior Women’s team host UEFA Championship qualifying Group Two leaders Sweden tonight at the Carlisle Grounds (7.45pm) in what will be the penultimate qualifier for Ireland.
Manager Noel King has made two changes to the side that beat Hungary 2-0 in April, with Kate Taylor and Alisha Moran coming into the starting line-up.
Bray native Taylor missed that game through suspension after she was sent-off against Italy in Sardinia. She had put Ireland into an early lead before incurring the red card and the Irish went on to suffer a 4-1 defeat.
The subsequent victory against Hungary has enlivened the squad who know that one point taken off the Swedes either in this evening’s game or in the repeat fixture away on October 1st will almost certainly clinch a play-off spot for Ireland into next year’s European Championships.
Sweden can win the group outright should they achieve a positive result tonight. Their record in the group to date shows a 100 per cent record; five games, five wins, 23 goals scored and none conceded.
Those statistics underline the challenge which awaits Ireland as they prepare to face the nation ranked third in the World.
Manager Noel King said: “This is a mammoth task but we’re confident of our ability to perform well against the top nations. We have the experience of playing against the United States and Germany over the past couple of years and that will stand to us tonight.
“We know our strengths and that’s what we will focus on, rather than worry too much about the visitors.
“Our spirit is always top-class, we have some tremendous established players and some young Girls starting to make the breakthrough on the International stage.
“The Carlisle Grounds in Bray will be staging it’s first ever senior Women’s International game and the fans are sure to give our players fantastic support.”
He added: “Women’s football has made excellent strides over the past few years and the day will come when we take it to the next level.
“We have the opportunity of making it to a play-off for European qualification, which is more than we could have hoped for when we embarked on this campaign, and we’ll be giving it everything within our power to succeed.”
Republic of Ireland Team v (Sweden):
Emma Byrne - Arsenal
Niamh Fahy - Salthill Devon
Alisha Moran – New York Athletic Club
Yvonne Treacy - Arsenal
Marie Curtin - Hofstra University
Ciara Grant - Arsenal Fc
Aine O Gorman - Stella Maris
Katie Taylor - Peamount United
Edel Malone - Hofstra University
Michele O Brien - Long Island Lady Riders
Stefanie Curtis - Bristol Academy
Sharon Boyle - Raheny United
Sonya Hughes - Franklin Pierce
Olivia O Toole - Raheny United
Meabh Da Burcha - Salthill Devon
Lynn Bradley - Raheny
Seanna Cooke - Arsenal
Susan Byrne - St. John’s University, New York.