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# preparations
'We qualify and suddenly there is a lot of players with Irish backgrounds emailing you'
Vera Pauw is hoping to make use of the November international window if the FAI can afford it.

LAST UPDATE | Oct 23rd 2022, 11:32 AM

WITH THE WORLD Cup draw complete, the Republic of Ireland’s focus turns to preparing for the task at hand. For manager Vera Pauw, mapping out that preparation could prove to be a challenge in itself. 

Logistically, they must decide if they will base themselves in a city and travel to each venue or move from state to state with games scheduled for Sydney, Perth and Brisbane, in that order. Co-hosts Australia, Olympic gold medalists Canada and Nigeria are their opponents. 

In the meantime, the next available window for the squad is in November. A perfect chance for a training camp and some warm-up games? Yes, but an opportunity they are not sure if they will be able to grasp.  

“We are very busy to find opponents,” said Ireland boss Pauw from Auckland, speaking after the draw.

ireland-get-drawn-in-group-b Photosport / Alan Lee/INPHO Photosport / Alan Lee/INPHO / Alan Lee/INPHO

“As you remember we used the money to get well prepared earlier because everyone was on their summer-holiday break and it was at that moment important. 

“We have good hopes we can have games in November and find the money. Fifa is coming with preparation money also. That is very welcome.

“We are already trying to find opponents. Hopefully, we can finalise that.” 

The problem is that the team’s budget was set for the year and Pauw used it up in June for an extended camp as Ireland prepared to make history. At the time, they were obviously unsure if there would be a camp in November.

In normal circumstances, this would likely be no major issue. It is complicated by the fact the FAI remains in debt to the tune of €63.5 million. The goal is to still utilise the window but right now organising it is not straightforward. 

“It is fresh,” stresses Pauw.

“Everyone is looking into it. Everyone is doing their utmost. It is a bit unfortunate that we are talking about it because it feels like I am putting pressure and I am not, I promised not to do that. 

“It is actually the association who are trying to find it to offer it to us. That is why we are already looking into opponents. We have very good hopes. I know I used the money in June. I am not going to put extra pressure on it. On the other hand, we have only three slots to prepare.” 

A 23-woman squad will travel Down Under. Ireland’s opening game against Australia means another meeting with Manchester City star Mary Fowler. 

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Fowler scored twice for the Matildas at Tallaght Stadium last year and is eligible for Ireland through her Dublin-born Dad. She did hold talks with the FAI at one point but stuck with Australia. Her brother Caoimhín and sister Ciara have played underage for Ireland.

Pauw said other Irish-eligible players have reached out since the Scotland victory. 

“It is funny, we qualify and suddenly there is a lot of players with Irish backgrounds emailing you. They weren’t emailing you before you qualified.

“There are players we will look into. Don’t get me wrong, we see every single player every week playing because the streams these days are very good. The overview camera, it is the same as you are there.

“You can actually see more but I will travel of course. We are going to look at a few players who are close to the team and see where they are.

There are players abroad that are now showing up and we really have to look into, but they must have a very tight connection with Ireland. We accept now the players we are going to look at already have an Irish passport. They are not obtaining a passport for us, they have an Irish passport.

Pauw pointed to English-born midfielder Lily Agg, who scored and was named player of the match against Finland last month, as an example of the desired impact.

“We can find any game in the world. We can find the footage. Some really give us a boost, Lily Agg is a very good example. You need to be better. They must have a good Irish connection.” 

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