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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 24 February, 2020

Absentees return as Ireland boss Pauw names first squad for Euro 2021 qualifier

2014 FAI Player of the Year Julie-Ann Russell is one interesting inclusion in the 23-strong group.

Julie-Ann Russell in action in April 2017.
Julie-Ann Russell in action in April 2017.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND MANAGER VERA Pauw has named her first squad ahead of the visit of Ukraine next month for the side’s second Uefa Women’s Euro 2021 qualifier. 

Aiming for a record crowd at Tallaght Stadium on 8 October [KO 7.30pm] as the bid to reach a first-ever major tournament continues, the Dutch boss has included a few interesting names in the 23-strong squad.

After missing the Girls In Green’s opening 2-0 win against Montenegro earlier this month, West Ham youngster Leanne Kiernan and Manchester City star Megan Campbell come back into the fold, but there are other exciting inclusions. 

2014 FAI Player of the Year Julie-Ann Russell is back in the squad after putting her international career on hold to emigrate to Australia. 

Celtic defender Keeva Kennan, the club’s 2018/19 Player of the Year, has also been recalled, while former U19 captain and this summer’s World University Games team’s skipper Chloe Mustaki earns a first senior call-up after her incredible journey back from the brink.

18-year-old defender Hayley Nolan, who lines out with University of Hartford, has also been included along with US-born West Ham goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan, while Stephanie Roche makes the cut once again.

Ireland will be hoping for a positive result when second seeds Ukraine come to town, with Group I favourites Germany beating them 8-0 away last time out, to add to their 10-0 hammering of Montenegro.

chloe-mustaki Chloe Mustaki captained the Ireland World University Games squad this summer. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Pauw, who was announced as Colin Bell’s successor the day after the Montenegro win, explained that it was a real team effort between herself and her staff to confirm the squad.

“I would like to thank everybody who has helped me to get this squad together because there are players who are coming back from injury and others who have developed well that we have brought in and I needed a lot of information,” she said.

“Without all the help I have had I would not have been able to get a squad together that I am comfortable with, but I am very comfortable now with the squad I have named.

“We had open talks with everybody, including Ruud Dokter, Eileen Gleeson and Sue Ronan. Dave Connell has also described every single player for me, which is massive.”

Pauw noted that she would meet with Bell on Thursday for further information on those included.

“I will meet Colin Bell tomorrow to go through the group dynamics and the specifics of players in order to ensure a smooth transition from his programme to what we are going to do,” she added.

“Tom O’Connor was very supportive also. I don’t think we could be in a better situation as we don’t intend to do something different but to build on what has been happening. We obviously hope to develop further, but without the knowledge of what the team has done until now, we can’t do that.

“The video analysis staff were also excellent help to me, Ger Dunne, Gary Seery and Andrew Holt all played their part in providing me with the footage that I needed of all the players we were looking at.”

Republic of Ireland Squad

Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (SC Braga), Grace Maloney (Reading), Courtney Brosnan (West Ham United)

Defenders: Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Keeva Keenan (Celtic), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Claire Walsh (Peamount United), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Hayley Nolan (University of Hartford), Megan Campbell (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Megan Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Stephanie Roche (CF Florentia), Tyler Toland (Manchester City), Chloe Mustaki (Shelbourne)

Forwards: Heather Payne Florida State University), Leanne Kiernan (West Ham United), Amber Barret (FC Koln), Rianna Jarrett (Wexford Youths), Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Julie Ann Russell (Sydney University).

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Emma Duffy

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