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Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE Republic of Ireland Manager Vera Pauw at the launch of Sport Ireland’s new 'It’s My Time' campaign.
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'Necessary' WNL contracts, monitoring four new players and Brisbane base for World Cup
The Republic of Ireland women’s national team manager shared several updates yesterday.

VERA PAUW HAS hailed the introduction of professional contracts for players in the Women’s National League as “necessary and a hugely important step for the development of our game in Ireland”.

The FAI made the landmark announcement last week, stating that players “will be subject to the same Standard Player Contract and minimum wage regulations as men’s players in the League of Ireland.” 

WNL clubs will not be obliged to offer professional contracts to players, and will have the option of having full-time or part-time professional players or amateur players in their squads.

Figures of €430 a week for full-time players and €130 a week for part-time players have been widely reported.

Speaking the launch of Sport Ireland’s new ‘It’s My Time’ campaign yesterday, Republic of Ireland women’s national team manager Pauw began:

“It is necessary and a hugely important step for the development of our game in Ireland. It is too easy that players like Jess Ziu are taken out of the league and into England and then rushed into a system that is at such a higher level. They will get injured.

“It will help both domestically. Players will have more opportunity to train because they can be freed up from work and also they cannot just be taken. There will be a transfer fee or a training fee going to their clubs, whereas now they go for free.

“Hopefully it will mean our young players will stay in Ireland longer. If you go from here to England, particularly to the Super League or Championship and you don’t have staff at that club who know how to guide that jump (for young players) you always, always get injured players.

“I don’t stop any player (moving abroad). I’ve been one myself so I understand that, of course they want to play professionally, but I have serious discussions with them about going so young.

“Everyone knows that (overseas) clubs are pulling on Jessie Stapleton but she is just 17 years old. We must be so careful with young players because an ACL is happening within a split second.”

Pauw also offered several updates regarding next summer’s Women’s World Cup.

The Irish team will be based in Brisbane while in Australia, where they have been pitted against the co-hosts, Canada and Nigeria in Group B. The Girls In Green will kick off their first-ever major tournament against Australia in Sydney on 20 July, before travelling to Perth to face Canada six days later and rounding off the group stage against Nigeria in Brisbane.

“We have decided to stay in Brisbane, there is only 35mm of rain there while Sydney has 135mm in that period,” Pauw revealed.

“We have the short straw, have to travel about 8,000km. It would be better to not have a base camp, to take all our stuff to each place but then we’d have the last choice of hotel, so now we are trying to have a base in Brisbane and travel in and out to Sydney and Perth.”

ireland-celebrate-qualifying-for-the-world-cup Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ireland qualified for the World Cup after an historic play-off win in Hampden Park. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

The Dutch coach, who shared Ireland’s intentions to “stun the world” Down Under on Friday’s Late Late Show, explained how she is closely monitoring four Irish-eligible players to increase squad depth.

“When we qualified players from all over the world who had Irish backgrounds saw a chance to be part of this team,” she said. “This is an opportunity but also a risk.

‘This squad has qualified, this squad has lived through everything so the only way we bring in (new) players is they already have a passport or have been through that process and have to be better than what we have already. If it’s close (in standard) we don’t do it.

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“The reason Lily [Agg] and Lucy [Quinn] have had such an impact is because their heart is here. Of course it is an opportunity for them but they really, really want to play for us and they have embraced the culture.

“It doesn’t mean we will be bringing them in but there are four players (new second-generation Irish) that we are seriously looking at and following.”

“It’s not that any of the (current) players are not performing but when you have as many injuries as we have, other players have had to step up and we need more depth on our bench,” she added.

“Lily Agg has stepped up, Megan Campbell came in, Hayley Nolan is stepping up. That creates room for others and someone from outside coming into the bench means an opportunity to not lose quality….but they must be better than what we already have.”

Pauw also gave an injury update, having previously said said there is “no hope” of a timely return for recent cruciate ligament knee injury victims Ziu and Ellen Molloy.

Megan Connolly is back in club action with Brighton & Hove Albion, Ruesha Littlejohn is “getting close to it” at Aston Villa, and there is positive news on Liverpool star Leanne Kieran. 

“Leanne Kiernan is recovering after her ankle injury. She has a chance to make it. The plan is that she will play with her club in February so hopefully she will.”

Sport Ireland and Healthy Ireland’s ‘It’s My Time’ campaign looks to encourage women over 40 to make time for themselves and increase their activity levels through sport and exercise. For more information on It’s My Time, visit www.sportireland.ie/itsmytime

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