Pauw: "A privilege" to work with Ireland players and staff. Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Pauw's Ireland confirm April friendly double-header ahead of World Cup draw

Ireland will host Denmark next month before travelling to Belgium.

IRELAND WILL TAKE on Denmark and Belgium in a friendly double-header next month as preparations ramp up ahead of the 2023 World Cup qualification campaign.

Vera Pauw’s side host Denmark in Tallaght Stadium on Thursday 8 April before flying out to face Belgium in Brussels’ King Baudouin Stadium on Sunday 11 April.

Pauw today named a provisional squad of 32 for the friendlies which includes strong domestic representation with no fewer than 10 Women’s National League players called up ahead of the new campaign.

Peamount United’s Stephanie Roche makes her return to the squad, as does Glasgow City’s Clare Shine.

With Denmark currently ranked 14th in the world and Belgium 17th, the games will serve as a good preparation while Ireland — ranked 31st — wait to learn their World Cup qualifying fate in the draw on 30 April.

“With the world still fighting back against the Covid-19 pandemic, we are very grateful to have the opportunity to play these games which will make a significant difference to our preparation for the 2023 FIFA World Cup qualifiers due to start in September,” said Pauw.

“We would like to thank the Government, the Health Service Executive, Sport Ireland and everyone at the Football Association of Ireland who have worked hard to make these games happen. It is so important that we take advantage of every minute that we can work with the players and to play against strong teams.”

She added: “We are really looking forward to getting this campaign started and being on the pitch together again. This is a very special group of players and staff who work incredibly hard to represent their country with pride. It is a privilege to work with them in every camp that we have.”

Republic of Ireland WNT Provisional Squad

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

Defenders: Keeva Keenan (Celtic), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Louise Quinn (Fiorentina), Diane Caldwell (North Carolina Courage), Niamh Farrelly (Glasgow City), Claire Walsh (Peamount United), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Éabha O’Mahony (Cork City), Áine O’Gorman (Peamount United)

Midfielders: Emily Whelan (Shelbourne), Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Jamie Finn (Shelbourne), Hayley Nolan (London City Lionesses), Ruesha Littlejohn (Birmingham City), Alli Murphy (London City Lionesses), Ellen Molloy (Wexford Youths), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne), Katie McCabe (Arsenal)

Forwards: Heather Payne (Florida State University), Leanne Kiernan (West Ham United), Isibeal Atkinson (Celtic), Amber Barrett (FC Koln), Rianna Jarrett (Brighton & Hove Albion), Kyra Carusa (HB Hoge), Saoirse Noonan (Shelbourne), Clare Shine (Glasgow City), Stephanie Roche (Peamount United)

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