World Cup Qualifier
14.06.2014 at 15:00 - Tallaght Stadium
Republic of Ireland Womens National Team manager Sue Ronan has named a squad of 20 players for this months back to back World Cup qualifying games against Croatia and Russia.
Ireland face Croatia at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday, June 14, before heading to play Russia on Thursday, June 19, in Krasnoarmeysk, which is 60 kilometres outside Moscow.
Arsenal midfielder and former FAI Womens International Player of the Year, Niamh Fahey, returns to the squad for a competitive fixture for the first time since her cruciate ligament injury over a year ago. There is also a recall for Mary Therese McDonnell who was last capped 12 months ago in the friendly against Austria and has been unavailable for selection until now.
“It is a big boost to be able to name Niamh and MT in the squad. They are both very experienced and it will be a big help to the younger players to have them back. It has been a long road back from injury for Niamh but she has started playing with Arsenal in recent weeks and played 90 minutes in last Sundays English Womens FA Cup Final,” said Ronan, who will once again have to plan without defender Megan Campbell, who underwent surgery last month after breaking a bone in her foot.
Last months 3-1 defeat at home to second seeds Russia severely dented Irelands chances of finishing second in Group 1 to runaway leaders Germany but Ronan wants her side to amass as many points as they can over the second half campaign.
“We picked up seven points from our first five games against the rest of the teams in group so we would like to equal or better that when we face them all again over the next four months,” said Ronan who admitted that Croatia will present a stern test.
“Croatia are going to be very tough. We needed an injury time goal to earn a point when we played them last September and their results and performances since then have been very good. They were unlucky to lose 1-0 away to Russia and then beat Slovenia last month. Our focus is completely on that game at this stage and we will worry about Russia once the final whistle goes on Saturday week in Tallaght.”
The FIFA World Cup qualifier against Croatia will take place at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday, June 14, with a 6pm kick-off. Admission is €5 for adults and €2 for students/U16s. The game away to Russia is on Thursday, June 19, with a 1pm (Irish time) kick-off.
SQUAD:Goalkeepers: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Niamh Reid-Burke (Raheny United). Defenders: Sophie Perry (Millwall), Meabh de Burca (Galway WFC), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United), Diane Caldwell (Avaldsnes), Karen Duggan (Peamount United), Mary Therese McDonnell (Unattached). Midfielders: Julie Ann Russell (Peamount United), Ciara Grant (Raheny United), Siobhan Killeen (Raheny United), Dora Gorman (Peamount United), Shannon Smyth (Amazon Grimstad), Rachel Graham (Raheny United), Niamh Fahey (Arsenal). Forwards: Fiona O Sullivan (SC Frieburg), Denise O Sullivan (Glasgow City), Stephanie Roche (Peamount United), Ruesha Littlejohn (Sandviken), Áine O Gorman (Peamount United).