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Ireland women's squad vaccinated, as Pauw vows to 'support the movement' after NWSL scandal

‘This is happening too much in women’s sport, not only in women’s football but everywhere.’

Ireland WNT manager Vera Pauw.
Ireland WNT manager Vera Pauw.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND women’s national team boss Vera Pauw says the 27-strong squad she named this morning for upcoming World Cup qualifiers are all vaccinated.

Callum Robinson made international headlines last week when he revealed he had not yet taken the vaccine, stressing it is a “personal choice”.

Pauw noted that there was one exemption in the wider pool due to medical reasons, but that player, who will not be named, is not in the current squad.

Asked if all her players were vaccinated as the Girls In Green open their 2023 World Cup qualifying campaign against Sweden next Thursday, the Dutch boss said:

“Yes. There is one player, I won’t name her. She’s not in the squad, she’s on the injury list. She cannot have any vaccinations, also not any other like yellow fever or whatever, because of her allergic reactions to that. There’s one player, but it would not be a reason to leave her out. We will protect her in our bubble.”

Pauw was speaking to the media for the first time since fresh allegations swept across the National Women’s Soccer League [NWSL] — the top professional women’s soccer league in the United States — last month.

North Carolina, home of Irish internationals Denise O’Sullivan and Diane Caldwell, fired Paul Riley following “very serious allegations of misconduct”, as reported by The Athletic.

On a difficult time for O’Sullivan and Caldwell, and all those at the club, Pauw noted:

“It’s not only at the club, it’s a very difficult time for all. This is happening too much in women’s sport, not only in women’s football but everywhere. I hope that I can be on the barricades to support the movement.

“Everybody that knows me and has followed me knows that everywhere I go, the safety and wellbeing of the players comes first – to the extreme. I’ve taken up fights and everything to protect that, to be on the barricades to do something about it.

“I hope that this will be the start of a huge difference in women’s sport.”

Along with the announcement of the squad this morning, assistant manager Eileen Gleeson’s departure from the set-up was also confirmed. The Dubliner is set to take over at 14-in-a-row Scottish Women’s Premier League champions Glasgow City next month.

“Gutted to lose her, I respect her so much,” Pauw said. “But on the other hand, this is such a great opportunity for her. I only want to celebrate it, we only support it if you get a chance like that. She deserves it like no one else.”

Gleeson’s replacement will be sought after this international window, which opens against Group A powerhouse and the world’s second-ranked team in Sweden at a sold-out Tallaght Stadium next week, before Ireland face second seeds Finland in Helsinki five days later.

With skipper Katie McCabe in phenomenal club form with Arsenal, and Liverpool duo Leanne Kiernan and Niamh Fahey shaking off knocks, there’s huge confidence in the set-up after last month’s friendly win over Australia.

“I have always had the confidence, as you know. I have never lost my trust in this process,” Pauw nodded, “because this group showed that we’re stepping up and stepping up and stepping up, and this would come.

“Performance is never constant so after a huge high, it’s so difficult to get that high again. I think that the pressure of playing the second-best team in the world will give the awareness that we have to perform at that level again. That there’s no way that we can even think for a moment that it’s an automatic process.”


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The victory, which ended a seven-game losing run, came after a string of positive off-field developments, including pay parity with their male counterparts and a standalone sponsorship deal with broadcaster Sky. From the outside looking in, there may have been pressure to deliver on the pitch, so the win – albeit a friendly one – came as a huge boost. Pauw rejects that notion.

“I think it’s the other way around, to be honest. I think that the progress and the positive fight that we emit with each other with those fantastic, I can call them nothing else but tigers, that that has brought this also.

“It’s like one is influencing the other. No, it did not bring more pressure, it brought more energy for the future. That’s certain. We feel respected, we feel part of the big family – we did feel that already, but now it makes life easier for everybody.”

With the pressure on ahead of a sell-out clash with Sweden, Pauw won’t shy away from how important this double-header is as Ireland look to reach a first-ever major tournament, with the Finland game certainly there to be targeted.

“Sweden is by far the toughest. Everybody knows that. They were the finalists at the Olympic Games, they have played some of the best football in the world. They have world-class players, so we do know that that will be toughest.”

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey discuss depth in Munster, Nathan Doak’s Ireland prospects, and whether rugby is survival of the richest on The42 Rugby Weekly

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Emma Duffy

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