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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 14 July, 2020

Key trio return but West Ham teenager Kiernan ruled out as Ireland prepare for Belgium test

Megan Connolly, Harriet Scott and Tyler Toland are all available again for Colin Bell’s side.

Megan Connolly (left) is among the returning players in the Ireland squad.
Megan Connolly (left) is among the returning players in the Ireland squad.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

IRELAND BOSS COLIN Bell has named a 20-player squad ahead of the team’s international friendly against Belgium, with star striker Leanne Kiernan among the absentees.

The 19-year-old Cavan native has been ruled out through injury, as has Wexford Youths striker Rianna Jarrett.

There is no place either for Stephanie Roche, who made her debut for Fiorentina on Saturday, and is continuing to get back to full fitness, after more than a year out through injury.

Meanwhile, Megan Connolly has returned to the squad, after completing her college commitments at Florida State University, while reigning International Player of the Year Harriet Scott is available again too.

17-year-old midfielder Tyler Toland is also back, after picking up an injury in her side’s final World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland last August.

In addition, U17 players Rebecca Cooke and Emily Kraft retain their places in the squad, having impressed when included in last November’s training camp.

“The first game of a new year always represents a great opportunity to build momentum in what is an important 12 months for the team,” said WNT Head Coach Colin Bell. 

“We’re delighted to welcome back Megan Connolly after winning the National Championship with Florida State University and she’ll be a valuable asset for the team in the future. 

“Harriet Scott and Tyler Toland also come back into the squad, which is a big boost for the squad ahead of what should be a difficult test against an excellent Belgium team. 

“I’ve also decided to name Emily Kraft and Rebecca Cooke in the squad who did really well in our November training camp and another week with the team should really benefit their development.

“We want to test ourselves against the very best teams ahead of the start of the 2021 European Championships qualifying in September to make sure we’re fully prepared to qualify for our first-ever major international tournament.”

The match against Belgium takes place at the Pinatar Arena in Murcia, Spain on 20 January with kick-off at 3pm (2pm Irish time).

Republic of Ireland WNT squad v Belgium 

Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (Brighton and Hove Albion), Grace Moloney (Reading)

Defenders: Heather Payne (Bristol City), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool FC), Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Eabha O’Mahony (Cork City).

Midfielders: Tyler Toland (Kildrum Tigers), Megan Connolly (unattached), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United), Rebecca Cooke (Shelbourne).

Attackers: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Emily Whelan (Shelbourne), Amber Barrett (Peamount United), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne), Isibeal Atkinson (Shelbourne), Emily Kraft (FFC Frankfurt).

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Paul Fennessy

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