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Roche and O'Gorman ruled out as Colin Bell names squad for Slovakia qualifier

Ireland’s bid to reach their first major tournament recommences with an away clash in two weeks time.

Stephanie Roche and Aine O'Gorman have not been included in the squad.
Stephanie Roche and Aine O'Gorman have not been included in the squad.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

WITH THEIR 2019 World Cup campaign off on the right foot, Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team (WNT) manager Colin Bell has named his 21-strong squad to face Slovakia in their upcoming away qualifier.

Both Stephanie Roche and Aine O’Gorman have been ruled out after picking up injuries in their side’s opening 2-0 win over Northern Ireland, while Celtic striker Ruesha Littlejohn has been recalled to the squad.

There’s a first senior call-up for Shelbourne winger Isibeal Atkinson following her form for the Ireland U17 side, while Wexford Youths’ Claire O’Riordan has also been added.

“To sustain two injuries in the first qualifying game was a major blow to us,” Bell said.

“Stephanie and Aine are major parts of the team and have plenty of experience so we will miss them for this game, but it is also an opportunity for the other players to step up.

“Ruesha Littlejohn comes back into the squad as she has plenty of international experience and Claire O’Riordan comes in after she joined us in the Northern Ireland camp, and has really impressed me with her recent form.

“I’m delighted to welcome Isibeal Atkinson into the squad, her first senior call-up and I’m sure she’ll relish the experience. She’s really impressed me during the home-based training sessions as well as our time in Bosnia with the U17s, and I think she will benefit from training with the senior squad.

“With an important elite phase in the Netherlands coming up for the Women’s Under-19s, I felt it was important not to call up any player from that group to give Dave Connell’s side the best chance of progression.”

Ireland travel to Secec and face Slovakia at the National Training Centre on Tuesday 24 October with kick-off at 4.30pm (5.30pm CET).

Ireland are third seeds in Group 3, with Euro 2017 champions the Netherlands also in the pool.

Slovakia opened their qualifying campaign the same night as Ireland and were beaten 6-1 away to top seeds Norway — who’ve beat Northern Ireland 4-1.

“It is going to be a tough match for us but it’s important we go into the game looking to build off that positivity from our performance in Northern Ireland and keep pushing forward in our qualification campaign.”

Republic of Ireland squad to face Slovakia

Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (Manchester City), Amanda Budden (Cork City WFC), Amanda McQuillan (Shelbourne Ladies)

Defenders: Harriet Scott (Reading WFC), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Sophie Perry (Brighton and Hove Albion), Clare Walsh (UCD Waves), Megan Campbell (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Karen Duggan (UCD Waves), Niamh Fahey (Bordeaux), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Tyler Toland (Maiden City), Roma McLaughlin (Shelbourne Ladies).

Attackers: Katie McCabe (Arsenal, on loan at Glasgow City), Amber Barrett (Peamount United), Claire O’Riordan (Wexford Youths), Ruesha Littlejohn (Celtic), Leanne Kiernan (Shelbourne Ladies), Heather Payne (Peamount United), Isibeal Atkinson (Shelbourne Ladies).

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