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Ireland without a new manager for friendly against world champions

Colin Bell’s former assistant Tom O’Connor takes interim charge for the trip to California.

Ireland captain Katie McCabe.
Ireland captain Katie McCabe.
Image: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland [FAI] is still in the process of appointing a new women’s national team manager, meaning Colin Bell’s former assistant Tom O’Connor will take interim charge for next week’s friendly against USA.

Bell unexpectedly left the position at the end of June to take on the role of assistant manager at Huddersfield Town, and the FAI say they intend to appoint his successor as WNT boss ‘very soon’.

The ongoing recruitment process means Ireland will travel to California to face the world champions without a permanent manager, with O’Connor today announcing a 20-player squad for the 3 August friendly [3am Irish time, eir Sport].

The squad will leave for America on Monday ahead of the game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, which will be the USA’s first game since defeating the Netherlands to win the World Cup in early July.

There are five changes to the squad that faced Italy in April, with Denise O’Sullivan and Megan Campbell ruled out due to club commitments, while there are five Women’s National League players selected. 

“It is very exciting for the players to play the world champions after what was a fantastic and inspiring World Cup,” FAI performance director Ruud Dokter said.

Colin Bell during the National Anthem O'Connor [left of Bell] takes interim charge. Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

“It’s a big opportunity to play in an excellent environment and a great game to be involved in for both players and staff.

“Tom O’Connor is taking the team as interim manager and as a coach under the previous manager he knows the team very well. We are in the process of appointing a new manager, which we intend to do very soon.

“We want to have the new manager in position before the European Championship qualifier in September.”

Ireland squad:

Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (SC Braga), Grace Moloney (Reading)

Defenders: Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Eabha O’Mahony (Cork City), Megan Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion), Lauren Dwyer (Wexford Youths)

Midfielders: Tyler Toland (Kildrum Tigers), Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United), Eleanor Ryan-Doyle (Peamount United), Jess Gargan (Shelbourne), Claire Walsh (Peamount United)

Forwards: Amber Barrett (FC Köln), Emily Whelan (Shelbourne), Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Rianna Jarrett (Wexford Youths), Heather Payne (Florida State University). 

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