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'Ireland has never qualified for a major tournament so it's about time that we did it'

Ireland’s new manager Colin Bell made an impressive start by guiding Ireland to their highest ever finish at the Cyprus Cup this week.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THERE WERE A FEW things that influenced Colin Bell’s decision to pursue the role of managing the Ireland senior women’s football team.

Firstly, it allowed the 55-year-old to fulfill his long-standing ambition of becoming a national coach.

The FAI’s ongoing efforts to promote women’s football in Ireland added another layer to the appeal.

He’s intrigued by the influx of talented players, and there’s also the opportunity of steering Ireland to a first ever major tournament.

“I just like massive challenges,” he told The42 at the launch of the new season of the Continental Tyres Women’s National League.

Continental Tyres Women's National League Launch Representatives from all seven teams in the WNL at today's launch. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“Ireland has never qualified for a major tournament so it’s about time that we did it. I have the chance to achieve that and I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure that the success will be there.

“There’s a lot of work to do of course. First of all, we have to be able to compete with the opposing teams and then hopefully one day beat them. To compete, you have to be on their level because they’re not gonna drop off for us.”

Bell has made a positive first impression as the successor to Sue Ronan, by delivering Ireland’s highest ever finish in the Cyprus Cup this week.

After topping Group C, Ireland eventually bowed out against North Korea, to finish fourth in the the 12-nation tournament.

He expressed his frustration that Ireland didn’t get a better result out of the game, but is keen to see the players utilise the defeat to their advantage for future outings.

“We can learn a lot from the Korea game, but I wanted it to hurt the girls because it hurt me. We should have got something out of it and we let Korea off the hook, and that’s something we cannot do in the future.

“I want this thing to become theirs, I want it to be really special for them. It means we have to study our game, study our play, analyse some of the mistakes that we made but also look at some of the good things.”

“Things are happening, things are moving and the feedback from the girls has been really positive. Now we just have to make sure that this momentum stays like what we started in Cyprus. I won’t drop off and I would advise the girls also not to do so.”

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