Evan Treacy/INPHO Courtney Brosnan and Ireland face Georgia next on Monday.
# Number One
Ireland's US-born goalkeeper focused on World Cup dream as Everton decision awaits
Courtney Brosnan is facing a decision on her club future, having established herself as the Girls In Green’s number one.

“WHEN EVERYONE STARTS playing football, they dream about being able to play in a World Cup.

“And obviously, coming from a small country like Ireland that has so much passion, it would just mean the world to me and to all the girls. It goes without saying how big it would be for all of us.”

Qualification for a first-ever major tournament would mean everything for Courtney Brosnan and co..

The Republic of Ireland and Everton US-born goalkeeper sticks to the usual script and party lines for the most part in this context — one game at a time etc, etc — but allows her mind to wander momentarily.

Brosnan has established herself as the Girls In Green’s number one under Vera Pauw, well and truly cementing her first-choice status with a performance of a lifetime in April’s monumental 1-1 draw with Sweden.

The New Jersey native’s international journey hasn’t exactly been straightforward. She’s been solid through the 2023 World Cup qualifying campaign thus far, but has been at the centre of some high-profile errors and come in for heavy criticism in the past.

She’s also had to hold off fierce competition from two of the Women’s Super League top goalkeepers in Megan Walsh (Brighton & Hove Albion) and Grace Moloney (Reading), among others, despite her own lack of game-time at club level.

Brosnan played second fiddle to English netminder Sandy MacIver at the Toffees last season, though did enjoy a bit of a breakthrough towards the end of the campaign.

Out of contract soon having joined on a one-year deal from West Ham last summer, her club future is up in the air. MacIver has been linked with a move to Manchester City, so an opening for more regular minutes at club level may appear.

Speaking from Ireland’s base at Antalya, Turkey ahead of next week’s World Cup qualifier away to Georgia, Brosnan said:

“I think I’m just trying to focus on the game here and do everything I can for Ireland and then I’m working very hard to be in the best position for myself at the club level as well.

“Getting game minutes is so important, it helps keep me fresh and helps get ready for the international game. It’s important to not only get game time here but at club level for sure.”

london-uk-19th-dec-2021-everton-women-goalkeeper-courtney-brosnan-during-the-fawsl-match-between-tottenham-hotspur-women-and-everton-ladies-at-the-hive-london-england-on-19-december-2021-photo Alamy Stock Photo Brosnan's Everton contract is up this summer. Alamy Stock Photo

Stringing three decent performances together after her excellent Gothenburg showing came as a boost after a turbulent, unstable season for the Merseyside outfit, and may go some way in helping the 26-year-old settle on future plans.

“There are so many different factors that go into choosing a club or where you want to play. It could be things like game time or managers or the league and all that. That’s definitely stuff I’m considering and trying to weigh up the different factors and see what is the best for me and make the decision based on all that.

“Everyone wants to be in a stable environment. I could definitely see that at Everton so that’s something to definitely consider when I make a decision this summer.”

Brosnan is well aware, too, that Monday’s clash in Gori [KO 4pm Irish time, live on RTÉ 2] is an opportunity to further put herself in the shop window, regardless of where her future lies.

“In the international game, everyone is watching and seeing things like that, so I would definitely say it’s a chance to show yourself. But more importantly, just be there for the team and get the result, and then worry about all that other stuff later.”

With laser-sharp focus on Georgia, she allows herself some time to reflect on Sweden and that shot in the arm to her inner belief and self confidence — “I don’t think I was looking at the bigger picture until after the game… obviously I am really proud, proud of the team and proud of myself” — but certainly won’t rest on her laurels.

It’s about building on that now. Onwards and upwards on Monday, ahead of a simply massive September double-header against Finland and Slovakia.

“We know how important it is to get the win and keep moving in the right direction,” Brosnan nods.

“We’re obviously trying to build something here. With some of the results we’ve gotten, we’re taking steps in the right direction. It’s obviously great to get that recognition in the world rankings [Ireland moved up to 27th last week].

“We’re taking that as a confidence boost, but not being complacent and thinking the job’s done, knowing that we still have a way to go and we need to stay focused about the task on hand.”

courtney-brosnan-signs-autographs-after-the-game Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Meeting young fans in Tallaght Stadium earlier in the campaign. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

While Pauw’s side ran out record-breaking 11-0 winners the last time these sides met, a different game is expected next week.

The “brutal” heat will certainly play a factor in Gori, with the squad adjusting to it in Turkey where they beat the Philippines 1-0 in a friendly on Sunday (though heavy rain and thunder and lightning are forecast for game time), while most players are out-of-season and Georgia have some of their own key talent back in the fold.

Brosnan is predicting a “different challenge” against Group A’s minnows, who have conceded 41 goals in six defeats and are yet to score, though a similar approach remains.

“We’re preparing, doing our best to put in the best performance, score goals and kind of go at Georgia as we did in the first leg and everyone is feeling as positive as we can to put in that type of performance.”

She knows she’ll be nowhere near as busy as she was in their last qualifier against the Swedes, and being switched on all the time and staying in the moment is crucial.

“As a goalkeeper you realise how important that concentration and focus is, because you could have so many minutes where you don’t have anything to do, and then you could be called upon for 10 seconds where you need to be at the top of your game,” Brosnan concludes.

“You have to be ready for that.”

Ready, she will be.


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