Sarah Rowe. AAP/PA Images
Land down under

Multi-talented Rowe eyes World Cup dream as Ireland's Quinn hits out at 'unfair' ticket allocation

The Girls In Green’s first-ever major tournament is moving into full view.

MAYO MULTI-SPORT STAR Sarah Rowe is targeting a once-unlikely bolt into the Republic of Ireland women’s squad ahead of this summer’s World Cup.

Rowe this week signed for A-League Women’s club Melbourne Victory as an injury replacement player, and made her debut as a second-half substitute in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Perth Glory.

The42 understands Rowe is on Vera Pauw’s radar currently, having previously featured at a home-based training session under her watch in September 2021. 

The 27-year-old has played for Melbourne-based AFLW side Collingwood since 2019, and opted to stay in Australia for the off-season.

Screen Shot 2023-01-07 at 15.31.40 Sarah Rowe Instagram. Sarah Rowe Instagram.

A key member of the Mayo ladies football team in recent years, Rowe excelled on the Irish soccer scene through her youth. She represented her country at underage level, perhaps most notably starring for the history-making U19s at the 2014 European Championships. She played alongside several members of Pauw’s current squad, including captain and close friend Katie McCabe, as the Girls In Green reached the semi-finals. Rowe also won a senior cap in 2015.

Shelbourne were among the clubs she lined out for on these shores back then, while she made a brief return for the Reds in ’21.

While balancing various different sporting commitments is all she’s known through the years, Rowe’s new soccer venture is not expected to clash with the 2023 AFLW season, which is due to begin later this year while A-League Women’s season will finish in April. But should her World Cup target be hit, a clash would be likely.

“One can dream,” Rowe told AAP of that prospect. “I didn’t think that there would be an option to get back into the (Ireland) squad again, having been away for so long.

“Step one was getting back to playing soccer again, step two was getting signed to a club, which is Victory, step three is getting into the (Ireland) squad and then performing week in, week out.

“As a player you can never think far ahead with things like that because injuries and everything needs to go right for you. One can dream and obviously you always think big as a sportsperson but for now my focus is just on Victory.”

Her debut was a lively one, and the “natural talent” has caught the eye of head coach Jeff Hopkins thus far. “We’ve been impressed with her level and what she has to offer,” he said as Rowe put pen to paper.

“I finished on an abrupt note but I’d never felt like I’d finished,” the Ballina native added on her stunning return. “I’ve been away from the game longer than I’ve wanted.

“I just got a massive itch when I went back for a couple of weeks two years ago and I’ve been thinking about it since.”

Meanwhile, Louise Quinn has hit out at the “unfair” ticket allocation for Ireland’s World Cup opening game against Australia.

The Irish Independent reported on Thursday that the FAI received a ticket allocation of just 4% (1,700 tickets) for the highly-anticipated Sydney showdown on 20 July.

“Very unfair to our Irish supporters and to us, for such a small allocation,” Irish defender and Birmingham City captain Quinn wrote on Twitter. “Hoping they can dig out more tickets to create an unbelievable atmosphere!”

The42 has contacted Fifa, the FAI and Football Australia for comment.

Ireland also face Canada in Perth and Nigeria in Brisbane in Group B at their first-ever major tournament.

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