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Liverpool, Celtic and Wexford Youths stars called into Ireland squad for Australia friendly

Leanne Kiernan, Izzy Atkinson and Aoibheann Clancy come in for Éabha O’Mahony, Megan Connolly and Roma McLaughlin.

Leanne Kiernan returns to the squad.
Leanne Kiernan returns to the squad.

LIVERPOOL STAR LEANNE Kiernan, Celtic’s Izzy Atkinson and Wexford Youths midfielder Aoibheann Clancy have all been called up to Vera Pauw’s Republic of Ireland squad ahead of next week’s international friendly against Australia.

The trio earn call-ups after Cork duo Éabha O’Mahony and Megan Connolly, and US-based Donegal ace Roma McLaughlin were ruled out of next Tuesday’s clash at Tallaght Stadium [KO 7pm, live on RTÉ 2].

Kiernan and Atkinson have both been recalled after positive starts to their respective seasons; 20-year-old Atkinson joining the Hoops from Shelbourne earlier this year and Cavan attacker Kiernan moving Merseyside from West Ham during the summer.

Following an arduous battle with injury, 22-year-old Kiernan has started each of Liverpool’s three Championship games, building up minutes as she finds her groove once again.

It’s a first call-up, meanwhile, for Clancy, who makes the jump from the Ireland U19s, having enjoyed a fine Women’s National League [WNL] season to date — while catching the eye at Girls In Green home-based training sessions.

Pauw’s side begin their week-long camp today, with training taking place at FAI HQ in Abbotstown as preparations for their 2023 World Cup qualifying campaign ramp up.

Shelbourne goalkeeper Amanda Budden will also train with the squad, joining fellow shot-stoppers Grace Moloney, Courtney Brosnan and Eve Badana ahead of the Australia challenge.

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With Ireland’s campaign opener against Georgia rescheduled, the Australia friendly is the focal point of this window. The Matildas – led by Chelsea superstar Sam Kerr – are ranked 11th in the Fifa world rankings and are recent Olympic semi-finalists, with Ireland 33rd and yet to reach a first major tournament.

Fans return to Tallaght (tickets go on public sale on Wednesday) as Pauw’s charges hope to put an end to a seven-match winless run — and more importantly, warm up for Group A openers against higher-ranked Sweden and Finland in late October.

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Emma Duffy

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