McCabe (back row middle) before the win over Sweden. DAVID.BREEN
Family Business

'I'd say I'm more successful than him now!' - McCabe following in big bro's footsteps

The Ireland U19s winger, whose sibling is Shamrock Rovers star Gary McCabe, is preparing for this evening’s European Championships semi-final.

THE IRISH U19 women’s team are just two wins away from what would be an unprecedented success at the UEFA European Championships in Norway.

Victories over well-established nations Spain, England and Sweden saw David Connell’s side top their group and progress to semi-finals — where the Netherlands await in Mjondalen this evening (6pm kick-off Irish time).

It is a truly remarkable achievement made even more impressive by the fact that Ireland, who have been nicknamed the ‘History Girls’, are competing in the competition for the very first time.

When Ireland last faced the Dutch during the Elite qualifying rounds back in April, Katie McCabe missed out on the 0-0 draw as she was recovering from a broken fibula suffered in February.

However, having started all three games at the finals, the 18-year-old Dubliner set to keep her place for tonight’s last-four meeting.

Katies McCabe training At training yesterday. DAVID.BREEN DAVID.BREEN

The talented winger is one of three girls in the squad who play their club football with Women’s National League (WNL) champions Raheny United but isn’t the only McCabe to make their mark on Irish football.

Eight years her senior, big brother Gary has been tormenting SSE Airtricity League defences since he was a teenager — having begun his senior career with Bray Wanderers before moving on to Sligo Rovers and ending up at current club Shamrock Rovers.

Gary was a big part of how I got into football,” McCabe said. “I think I was five or six starting off and he would have been playing with the boys teams.

“He used to take me to the field to kick a ball around and he thought I was really good ‘for a girl’, as he would say.

“So he took me down to Crumlin United, where he was playing at the time, and I ended up joining a boys team.

“We play in the same type of positions and I do mirror my game off his in a way. But I’d say I’m more successful than him now, which he would hate to hear!” she joked.

Gary McCabe 23/5/2014 McCabe and (left) big brother Gary. Cathal Noonan & Ryan Byrne / INPHO Cathal Noonan & Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

On the experience so far, she added: “It’s been pretty surreal as we have never really reached a finals before and we were so close to qualifying last year.

“Everyone is just really happy, and there is a good buzz around the camp, and obviously everyone is now focusing on the Holland game now.

“Our goal coming over was to take it game-by-game as we didn’t want to be too forward whereas the big nations would have been aiming to reach semi-finals and finals.

We wanted to give them a shock and show we are much more capable of giving them a game than they think. And that’s what we did. We took on Spain, England and Sweden and now our concentration is all on the Dutch.

“We’ve watched some footage and they are much more improved form last time but so have we. We’re pretty focused on what we have to do and know our gameplan in-and-out so hopefully it goes well for us tomorrow.

“We’re not putting ourselves in the final just yet. It’s all about this result.”

Watch the goals which put Ireland’s U19s into the European Championships semi-finals

Three wins from three sends Ireland U19s into first ever Euros semi-final