21-year-old Katie McCabe named as new Ireland captain

The forward takes over from Emma Byrne, who announced her international retirement yesterday.

McCabe has won 13 caps since making her senior international debut in March 2015.
McCabe has won 13 caps since making her senior international debut in March 2015.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND WOMEN’S NATIONAL team manager Colin Bell has wasted little time in appointing Emma Byrne’s successor as captain, with Katie McCabe taking over the duties.

The 21-year-old forward will lead Ireland into the 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign next month with defender Dianne Caldwell named as vice-captain.

McCabe, who is contracted to Arsenal but this week moved on loan to Scottish side Glasgow City FC, takes over from Byrne who announced her retirement from international football yesterday.

“Katie has been a player I’ve really enjoyed working with during my time as Head Coach in Ireland,” Bell said.

“On the pitch, she is one of the best players in the team and already leads from the front with her excellent ability and performances, which we’ve seen already this year.

“Off the pitch, I want to see her grow into the role of captain and lead the team forward. It’s an important role and I believe she has all the right attributes to push this team forward as we head into the 2019 World Cup qualification campaign.

“She’s a great character who all the players respond to and I know the rest of the squad will be right behind her as she steps into the captain’s role.”

Tweet by @Katie McCabe Source: Katie McCabe/Twitter

A prodigiously talent winger with Raheny United/Shelbourne, McCabe made her international debut in 2015 and has been an ever-present for Ireland since, establishing herself as a central figure for the national team.

McCabe moved to Arsenal in December 2015 but a series of injuries have hampered her chances of breaking into the first team in North London.

On Tuesday, it was announced McCabe was heading to Glasgow City for the second half of the Scottish Women’s Premier League season in search of more playing opportunities.

“It’s a huge honour to have been selected to be captain of the national team,” she said.

“It’s a huge moment for me personally but also my family who have always supported me on my football journey.

“I’d like to also thank Emma Byrne for her guidance and leadership as captain over the last few years, and I hope I can fill her boots for the team.

“I can’t wait to lead out the team in the upcoming World Cup qualifier and hopefully lead the Republic of Ireland WNT to their first major Championships.

“I’d like to thank Head Coach Colin Bell for the faith he has shown in me and I’ll be looking to repay that faith over the years.”

Ireland begin their World Cup qualifying campaign on 19 September when they make the trip to Lurgan to face Northern Ireland, before further home and away group games against Norway, Netherlands and Slovakia.

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