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New era begins as Bell names first Ireland squad ahead of Cyprus Cup clashes

An injury to Chelsea’s Niamh Fahey has ruled her out of the games, but the coach has otherwise named a strong squad

The Ireland women's team will play against Czech Republic, Hungary and Wales in the Cyprus Cup.
The Ireland women's team will play against Czech Republic, Hungary and Wales in the Cyprus Cup.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

NEW IRELAND MANAGER Colin Bell has named a 20-woman squad ahead of Cyprus Cup matches with Czech Republic, Hungary and Wales.

An injury to Chelsea’s Niamh Fahey has ruled her out of the games, but Bell has otherwise named a strong squad as he prepares for his first game as Irish boss.

Emma Byrne, who recently joined Brighton after 17 years at Arsenal is included, while seven domestic-based players feature in total, including Shelbourne Ladies trio Amanda McQuillan, Roma McLaughlin and Leanne Kiernan.

The tournament will serve as preparation for the 2019 World Cup qualifiers, which get underway in September, with Ireland set to learn their opponents when the draw is made on 25 April.

55-year-old Bell, who coached FFC Frankfurt to Champions League glory in 2015, is looking forward to the upcoming challenges.

“The Cyprus Cup is the ideal start for me,” he said. “Through its intensity I will have the opportunity to see how the squad react, on and off the pitch, in a difficult situation. Four competitive matches in a week is tough for any team.

“The focus in training can only be of a technical and tactical nature, plus recovery. This means that I will prioritise important elements of my philosophy without overloading the girls with too much information.

“One of these priorities will be team building/interaction between player-player and staff-player. For me, I will be looking to get as much information as I need for my players, and study the other teams during this tournament.

“The Cyprus Cup is from Day One the start of the road to France 2019. That is an important fact that I will be making clear throughout the tournament.”

Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: Emma Byrne (Brighton & Hove Albion), Amanda McQuillan (Shelbourne Ladies) Defenders: Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion), Jetta Berrill (UCD Waves), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Louise Quinn (Unattached), Megan Campbell (Manchester City Women), Savannah McCarthy (Glasgow City) Midfielders: Julie-Ann Russell, Karen Duggan (UCD Waves), Katie McCabe (Arsenal Ladies), Denise O’Sullivan (Houston Dash), Roma McLaughlin (Shelbourne Ladies), Ruesha Littlejohn (Celtic FC Women), Megan Connolly (Florida State University). Forwards: Stephanie Roche (Sunderland Ladies), Aine O’Gorman (UCD Waves), Noelle Murray, Clare Shine (Glasgow City), Leanne Kiernan (Shelbourne Ladies)

Fixtures

Wednesday, March 1: Republic of Ireland v Czech Republic, KO 12:30 (Irish time)
Friday, March 3: Republic of Ireland v Hungary, KO 15:30 (Irish time)
Monday, March 6: Republic of Ireland v Wales, KO 12:30 (Irish time)
Wednesday, March 8: TBC

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