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US-born striker Carusa 'humbled' as she pushes for first Ireland start

The San Diego native is set to get a chance to impress in the friendlies against Denmark and Belgium.

Ireland striker Kyra Carusa (file pic).
Ireland striker Kyra Carusa (file pic).
Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

KYRA CARUSA’S FORM at club level makes her a strong contender to be named in the Republic of Ireland side for Thursday’s friendly against Denmark.

Just over a year since she made her international debut as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Montenegro, Carusa is pushing for her first start against a team that’s set to feature several players with whom she’s familiar.

The 25-year-old is based just outside Copenhagen with HB Køge. Carusa, who netted the winner for her club against champions Fortuna Hjørring on Saturday, is currently the leading goalscorer in the Danish top-flight.

Fifa clearance to represent Ireland came through for the striker in February of last year. She qualifies to represent the Girls in Green via her maternal grandparents: Tony and Beryl Lucey, from Cork and Laois respectively, emigrated in the 1950s.

“I’m always incredibly humbled and I feel very privileged to be able to represent the Republic of Ireland on a national team stage. It’s something very, very special,” says Carusa, who was born and raised in San Diego, California.

“I’m so happy that my grandmother kept the original birth certificates, marriage certificates and immigration paperwork, because if she hadn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. It means the world.”

Ireland will travel to Brussels for another non-competitive fixture against Belgium on Sunday, but for now they’re focused on Thursday’s meeting with Denmark in Tallaght.

Should she feature against the Danes, Carusa will be in opposition to a few players who she has already faced at club level since making the move to HB Køge last year from French club Le Havre.

A newly-promoted but ambitious club, Køge are setting the pace in Denmark this season as they aim to break the duopoly of Brøndby and Fortuna Hjørring, who have shared the last 19 league titles between them.

Unlike Ireland, Denmark – who were runners-up at Euro 2017 – have qualified for next year’s European Championship. Their squad includes Chelsea star and two-time Uefa Women’s Player of the Year Pernille Harder.

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“I’m definitely impressed with the players they’ve brought in,” Carusa says of the composition of the Danish squad that arrived in Ireland yesterday.

“They giving opportunities to players who have really proven that they deserve them. For me, I’m excited to see some familiar faces out there.”

– First published 14.32, 6 April

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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