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Dublin: 6°C Friday 14 May 2021

Ireland international trials with West Ham on busy day of representation across the water

Meanwhile, Girls in Green goalkeeper Grace Moloney hit the 150 mark at Reading.

ruesha Ruesha Littlejohn has been training with the Hammers, where Leanne Kiernan and Courtney Brosnan are on the books. Source: West Ham United Women Twitter.

WHILE ALL THE women’s football focus on these shores was on the Aviva Stadium as Wexford Youths landed the FAI Cup title yesterday, there was plenty of Irish involvement across the water.

One of the most interesting stories of the day was the fact that Irish international Ruesha Littlejohn lined out for West Ham in their 1-0 Continental League Cup clash against Reading. 

Littlejohn — a free agent since departing Championship outfit London Bees, and former Celtic and Glasgow City striker — came off the bench in the 83rd minute after training with the Women’s Super League [WSL] side for the past few weeks. 

Ireland star Leanne Kiernan was also sprung from the bench in the 68th minute, before playing a pivotal part in Swiss striker Alisha Lehmann’s crucial winner. 

Cavan native Kiernan got on the end of the ball, darted into the box and showed great vision to find the onrushing Lehmann who in turn, fired home.

With Leanne back fit, her pace gives us an opportunity to cause teams problems,” manager Matt Beard said afterwards.

US-born Ireland goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan was also in the West Ham matchday squad, while another of Vera Pauw’s keepers, Grace Moloney, was held in reserve for the Royals. 

Though she didn’t feature, the Reading number one celebrated a landmark achievement — her 150th appearance for the club. Homegrown hero Moloney was presented with a shirt before the game by long-time manager Kelly Chambers, as her family watched on from the stands. 

grace Moloney's presentation before the game. Source: Reading FC.

Elsewhere, reigning league champions Arsenal — for whom Katie McCabe and Louise Quinn ply their trade — saw their perfect start to the Continental Cup campaign come to an end after losing to Brighton and Hove Albion on penalties. 

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Both Quinn and McCabe played all 90 minutes, before it went to spot kicks. The latter stepped up to coolly slot hers home, but the Gunners were beaten 4-2. Megan Connolly was an unused substitute for Brighton, but it was a memorable day for the Cork woman.

Manchester City bounced back from their mid-week Champions League exit with a 2-1 victory over Birmingham City. Megan Campbell started for the Sky Blues and played 80 minutes, with 18-year-old Tyler Toland on the bench.

2018 FAI senior women’s international Player of the Year Harriet Scott impressed in Reading’s defence throughout. Ellen White and Caroline Weir bagged the City goals , while Rachel Williams was on target for Birmingham.

And Niamh Fahey starred for Liverpool, but they fell to a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa.

keenan Keenan being lifted in celebration by Kathleen McGovern. Source: Celtic Women FC.

In Scotland, Keeva Keenan‘s Celtic beat Clare Shine‘s Glasgow City for the first time ever.

The Hoops’ current Player of the Year starred in defence as they were 4-1 winners over Scotland’s recently-crowned 13-in-a-row league champions. Shine was absent from the Glasgow squad after a heavy fixture schedule.

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Emma Duffy

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