European Final Play off
26.10.2008 at 15:00 - Richmond Park
The Republic of Ireland women’s senior international squad will bid to open up an historic new frontier for women’s football in this country by qualifying for the first time for the finals of the European Championship over the next week.
Team manager Noel King today called on the Irish fans to rise to the “Girls in Green” by backing them on Sunday when they face Iceland at Richmond Park in a play-off in the EURO 2009 Championship.
The game, which takes place at Richmond Park at 3pm, represents the biggest occasion for women’s football in the association’s history with qualification to the European Championship finals in Finland next year at stake.
Noel King’s side qualified for the EURO 2009 play-off’s after they achieved third position in group 2, behind Italy and favourites Sweden. They scored four impressive victories over Hungary and Romania to secure their position in the group.
The final hurdle for Ireland in their bid to qualify is presented by Iceland who are currently ranked 18th in the FIFA World rankings. Iceland emerged as runners up in group 3 which included, France, Greece, Serbia and Slovenia.
Speaking ahead of the EURO 2009 play-off first leg, Irish manager, Noel King called for all Irish football supporters to roar his side towards victory next Sunday.
“I would appeal to everyone in the football family to come along and support us in the EURO 2009 play-off against Iceland, this vital encounter is obviously a massive occasion for the women’s game but also for Irish football as a whole,” said King.
“There has not been a more important play-off match for this country since Mick McCarthy led Ireland to the FIFA World Cup 2002 play-off against Iran to put us through to the finals in Japan/Korea.”
King added, “So far in this campaign, the fans have been outstanding and the numbers have been growing with every game. For the last home tie against Sweden there were 1,800 people at the Carlisle Grounds. If we increase that number to 2,000, that would be excellent.
“Sunday’s game is an ideal family day-out as all children under 16 enter free of charge. For people who have never been at a women’s international football game, I think they will be pleasantly surprised by the high standard of the game.
“In Ireland, women’s football would, in my opinion, be considered a minority sport. This is in contrast to Germany, France and the Nordic countries, where women’s football is a big draw for supporters, media and corporate entities alike.
“Only 12 nations get the privilege of participating in the European finals and if we succeed it would be a remarkable achievement for all concerned and especially the enthusiastic young girls who have done so brilliantly to get us this far.
“It would be a significant achievement for Ireland and a highlight in the players’ careers as we would be up against the best players, all full-time professionals, and all of the matches will be screened live on television for one of the biggest sporting events in Europe in 2009,” said King.
UEFA Women’s Championship – EURO 2009 Play-off
Republic of Ireland v Iceland
Sunday 26th October
Richmond Park, Kick-off: 3 pm
Children under 16 are free
Iceland v Republic of Ireland
Thursday 30th October