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Uncapped duo stay in Ireland squad for Germany showdown as Roche one of seven to miss out

Vera Pauw has finalised a 23-strong squad for the top-of-the-group clash in Essen.

Stephanie Roche alongside Vera Pauw in the Irish huddle after their most-recent win over Montegero.
Stephanie Roche alongside Vera Pauw in the Irish huddle after their most-recent win over Montegero.
Image: Filip Filipovic/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND manager Vera Pauw has named her final 23-woman squad for their crucial upcoming European Championship qualifier against Germany.

An extended 30-strong squad was confirmed in late August, but seven players have made way and won’t make the trip for the game in Essen on Saturday, 19 September.

Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney, Celtic star defender Keeva Keenan and Australian-based Julie-Ann Russell have all been left out, along with the Women’s National League [WNL] quartet of Stephanie Roche, Isibeal Atkinson, Claire Walsh and Jessica Ziu.

A number of players remain on standby, but the squad will meet in Germany on Monday, 14 September ahead of the all-important Group I showdown.

Uncapped duo Alli Murphy and Ellen Molloy remain on the final list after recently receiving their first call-ups. Texas-born midfielder Murphy — who qualifies through her Irish grandparents — recently moved to the English Championship, joining Lisa Fallon’s London City Lionesses after stints in the US with Houston Dash, Sweden, the Netherlands and Iceland.

Ireland U17 star Molloy, meanwhile, has turned in some impressive WNL performances with Wexford Youths of late.

molloy Ellen Molly is a serious up-and-coming talent. Source: Wexford Youths.

Leanne Kiernan, Megan Connolly and Heather Payne all return to the squad, having missed the back-to-back wins over Greece and Montenegro in March.

Currently unbeaten and top of Group I after four wins and a draw, Ireland now face their toughest challenge yet against top seeds and group favourites Germany. The Girls In Green have a one-point advantage in the table, though the Germans — who have scored 31 goals and conceded zero — have a game in hand.

After the top-of-the-group showdown, Pauw’s side have two more group fixtures to complete — Ukraine away on 23 October, and Germany at home on 1 December.

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The nine group winners and the three best runners-up [not counting results against the sixth-placed team] qualify directly for the finals tournament in England, while the remaining six runners-up advance to play-offs.

The 2021 European Championships have been pushed back to July 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

WNT Source: FAI.

Republic of Ireland squad to play Germany

Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (SC Braga), Courtney Brosnan (West Ham United), Niamh Reid Burke (Peamount United)

Defenders: Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Louise Quinn (Fiorentina), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Aine O’Gorman (Peamount United)

Midfielders: Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Jamie Finn (Shelbourne), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Alli Murphy (London City Lionesses), Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United), Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), Hayley Nolan (London City Lionesses), Ruesha Littlejohn (Leicester City), Ellen Molloy (Wexford Youths)

Forwards: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Heather Payne (Florida State University), Leanne Kiernan (West Ham United), Amber Barrett (FC Koln), Rianna Jarrett (Brighton & Hove Albion), Kyra Carusa (HB Hoge).

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