Cathal Noonan/INPHO Ireland need six points to stay in contention for qualification.
Euro 2017

'We can't afford any more slip-ups': Ireland face into crucial Euros double-header

Sue Ronan’s side face Finland and Montenegro within the space of five days.

AWAY FROM THE hype surrounding the European Championships and Ireland’s campaign kicking off in Paris, the Irish women’s national team are quietly preparing for their own crucial Euro 2017 qualifiers in the coming days.

Sue Ronan’s side travel to Finland in search of three points on Friday evening, hoping to get their campaign back on track following a 3-0 defeat to table-toppers Spain in April.

Having lost to Finland in their opening qualifier, Ronan is looking forward to the encounter and believes her side can turn the result around.

“The home fixture against Finland was the first game of the campaign so to get off to a bad start was a big disappointment for everyone involved,” she says.

“When we analysed that game, we all agreed that we didn’t do ourselves justice on the night. We had created some really good chances to score but didn’t take them, then conceded two soft goals.

“Ever since, we have been looking forward to the away fixture.”

Currently sitting third in Group 2 and three points behind the second-placed Finns, a win is crucial if Ireland are to qualify for next year’s tournament in the Netherlands.

A dejected Denise OÕSullivan Cathal Noonan / INPHO Denise O'Sullivan following the Spain defeat. Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

The last time the sides met was at the Cyprus Cup in March where Ireland came out on top. Louise Quinn contributed towards the 2-0 victory, scoring a 13th-minute penalty, and is hoping to have a similar impact on Friday.

“What we should have done in Tallaght (the opening qualifier), we did in the Cyprus Cup” the vice-captain said.

“We won 2-0 but we need to step that up now and we want to go on and win in a place in the European Championships.

“Words can’t really describe what we want to happen — to get to a massive tournament like Euro 2017 would be a dream come true.”

Ireland then host Montenegro in Tallaght on Tuesday, and Ronan is hoping for a similar result to their comfortable 5-0 victory in April.

“We are at the stage in the group where we can’t afford any more slip-ups, so maximum points from these two games is the target.”

The former international player and current manager announced a 21-player squad for the qualifiers last week, including well-known names like Stephanie Roche, Denise O’Sullivan and Katie McCabe.

WNL Player of the Year Karen Duggan, Golden Boot recipient Aine Gorman and Chelsea defender Niamh Fahey are among others in the squad.


Finland vs Republic of Ireland, Friday 3 June, 16:05 Irish time (Live on Setanta Ireland)

Republic of Ireland vs Montenegro, Tuesday 7 June, 19:00, Tallaght Stadium

Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team (WNT) Squad

  • Emma Byrne (Arsenal Ladies FC)
  • Grace Moloney (Reading Ladies FC)
  • Niamh Reid-Burke (Shelbourne Ladies FC)
  • Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United DFF)
  • Sophie Perry (Brighton and Hove Albion WFC)
  • Meabh De Burca (Galway WFC)
  • Savannah McCarthy (Glasgow City FC)
  • Niamh Fahey (Chelsea Ladies)
  • Jetta Berrill (UCD Waves FC)
  • Lauren Dwyer (Wexford Youths WFC)
  • Denise O’Sullivan (Houston Dash)
  • Diane Caldwell (FC Koln)
  • Ruesha Littlejohn (Glasgow City FC)
  • Julie-Ann Russell (UCD Waves FC)
  • Emma Hansberry (Wexford Youths WFC)
  • Aine O’Gorman (UCD Waves FC)
  • Megan Connolly (Florida State)
  • Katie McCabe (Arsenal Ladies)
  • Stephanie Roche (Sunderland AFC)
  • Fiona O’Sullivan (California Storm)
  • Karen Duggan (UCD Waves FC)

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