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First-choice goalkeeper ruled out as Pauw finalises Ireland squad for crucial Euro qualifier

Next Friday’s showdown against Ukraine in Kiev will be live on RTÉ.

VERA PAUW HAS finalised her Ireland squad for next week’s crucial European Championship qualifier against Ukraine.

First-choice goalkeeper Marie Hourihan has been ruled out of the 23-strong squad due to a dislocated finger, with Stephanie Roche also among the six players to miss out from the provisional panel.

niamh-fahey-celebrates-at-the-final-whistle-with-marie-hourihan Marie Hourihan (1) with Niamh Fahey (5). Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

While there were no changes to the 30-strong extended squad to that from before the recent Germany game, in-form Reading netminder Grace Moloney and Celtic defender Keeva Keenan make the cut in the trimmed-down set-up to face Ukraine.

The uncapped duo of Wexford Youths teenage sensation Ellen Molloy and Texas-born midfielder Ali Murphy are also included, while the Women’s National League [WNL] trio of Isibeal Atkinson, Claire Walsh and Jessica Ziu, and Australia-based Julie-Ann Russell have been left out.

A number of players are on standby ahead of the squad meeting up in Duisburg, Germany, for a training camp ahead of the game next Friday [KO 5pm Irish time, live on RTÉ 2].

Victory or a draw for the Girls In Green in Kiev would secure play-off spot as Group I’s runners-up with one game to go — Germany at home on 1 December — as Ireland look to make history and reach a first-ever major tournament.

Automatic qualification would also be in contention should they beat Ukraine, as 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.

Two-legged play-offs will be played among the remaining six runners-up in April 2021.

Ireland have lost just one of their group games so far — to favourites Germany last time out — and beat Ukraine 3-2 in Pauw’s first game in charge in Tallaght last October.

They’ve also secured double wins over Montenegro, and a victory at home and a draw away to Greece. Ukraine are their runners-up spot rivals, though they currently trail Ireland by seven points. 

unnamed (2) FAI. FAI.

Republic of Ireland WNT Squad

Goalkeepers: Courtney Brosnan (West Ham United), Grace Moloney (Reading), Niamh Reid-Burke (Peamount United)

Defenders: Harriet Scott (Reading), Keeva Keenan (Celtic), 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 (Brighton & Hove Albion – on loan from NC 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).

- Updated 18.00

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