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Boost for Ireland as star duo Kiernan and Campbell return with Euro 2021 qualifier around the corner

18-year-old Tyler Toland made her Man City debut, while there’s some concern for key defender Louise Quinn.

THERE WAS GOOD news for Ireland ahead of their next Euro 2021 qualifier with Leanne Kiernan and Megan Campbell both making returns to competitive action in the FA Women’s League Cup yesterday.

Although West Ham fell to a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, 20-year-old Kiernan’s promising return from injury in the 73rd minute came as a huge boost to the Hammers.

westham Source: West Ham United Women.

“The biggest positives for me were that Leanne Kiernan got back on the pitch and Alisha Lehmann started today,” manager Matt Beard said afterwards, while naming a number of other players who lined out after lay-offs.

“We used this as a chance to look at the players that haven’t been playing and build up their minutes.”

The Cavan striker was not included in Ireland’s squad for their last camp and Euro 2021 campaign opener against Montenegro nor the USA friendly at the Rose Bowl, with her last taste of competitive football coming in May’s FA Cup final.

Meanwhile, Manchester City’s Drogheda native Campbell — also absent for the Montegro game — put in a massive shift in defence, causing serious problems down the left wing as the Sky Blues kicked off their Continental Cup defence in style with a 5-0 win over Leicester City.

campbell Source: City Women Blog Twitter.

A constant outlet on that flank, Campbell worked brilliantly with Scotland international Caroline Weir, setting her up for two goals.

Donegal 18-year-old Tyler Toland made her competitive City debut after signing last month, with manager Nick Cushing keen to give new players minutes and “get them into the rhythm of the way we play“.

toland Source: City Women Blog.

Elsewhere, Grace Moloney was solid between the posts, keeping a clean sheet as Reading FC were 4-0 winners away at Tottenham Hotspur.

Katie McCabe was sprung from the bench as Arsenal defeated London City Lionesses 5-0 in their opener, but there was some concern for Louise Quinn.

The Wicklow native was pulled from the starting XI, with manager Joe Montemurro explaining that “she just felt a little calf issue which we don’t think is too bad, but we will monitor it during the week and hopefully have her back bigger and better.”

Newly-appointed Ireland manager Vera Pauw will be hoping to have the key defender fully fit for the visit of Ukraine to Tallaght Stadium on Tuesday, 8 October as the bid to reach a first-ever major tournament continues.

vera-pauw Vera Pauw. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

While aiming for a record-breaking attendance, the Girls in Green will be eyeing another three points on home soil after their opening 2-0 win over Montenegro earlier this month.

That same night, Germany put Ukraine to the sword with a 8-0 away win — the Germans also beat Montenegro 10-0 –with the latter facing the Group I favourites once again three days before coming to Dublin.

Elsewhere overseas at the weekend, Denise O’Sullivan helped her North Carolina Courage side clinch a third consecutive NWSL Shield with a 3-0 win over Utah Royals FC.

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Emma Duffy

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