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Ireland women's boss Bell agrees new contract after impressive first year

The Englishman has overseen a number of encouraging results as the Girls in Green attempt to qualify for their first-ever World Cup finals.

Colin Bell (file photo).
Colin Bell (file photo).
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE FAI HAVE today announced a contract extension for Women’s National Team (WNT) manager Colin Bell.

The Englishman, a Women’s Champions League winning boss with FFC Frankfurt, took up the position in February 2017 — replacing the long-serving Sue Ronan.

A turbulent start to life in the job saw the senior squad go on strike last April in an effort to improve their working conditions. However, that issue was resolved with the FAI and Bell has been working to raise the standard of the international women’s teams, both at senior and underage level.

One of his main goals is to lead the Girls in Green to their first-ever qualification to a major tournament. His debut campaign has begun extremely well and Ireland sit second in their 2019 World Cup qualifying group after wins over Slovakia and Northern Ireland were followed by a hard-fought 0-0 draw away to current European champions, the Netherlands.

Having recently spent a week in Portugal to play a couple of friendlies, the WNT face a double-header of qualifiers — at home to Slovakia and the Dutch — in April.

Bell has also introduced a number of younger players into the senior set-up and he signs on with the FAI up until 2021.

“I’m absolutely delighted to extend my contract with the Football Association of Ireland as the head coach of the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team,” said Bell.

“It is a source of immense pride for me and my family to be the head coach of the national team, and I’m incredibly proud of the progress the team has made over the last 11 months.

“The players are fantastic to work with as they continually put in maximum effort to ensure their own personal progression and the progress of the national team. We’ve achieved some fantastic results so far, none more so than the draw against the European champions, the Netherlands, in November.

That result proves that this team can achieve at the highest level of international football and hopefully our progress over the next few years will lead to our first-ever appearance at a major tournament.

“Furthermore, in my role as head coach of the Women’s U17s side, I’ve been incredibly impressed and excited by the amount of talent in Ireland. We’ve recently seen the likes of Tyler Toland, Amy Boyle-Carr, Zara Foley and Eabha O’Mahony receive call-ups to the senior squad and that shows my commitment to progressing the talent we have in this country.

“I’m extremely excited about the future for the Women’s National Team and I’d like to thank all of the players, staff and the FAI for their support during my time in Ireland so far.”

A couple of the Ireland players have tweeted their reactions to the news:

Megan Campbell tweet Source: Twitter/Megan Campbell

Diane Caldwell Source: Twitter/Diane Caldwell

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