Dave Bell will lead the Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 17s into the UEFA European Championship Qualifiers in Turkey this week with high hopes.
Drawn in Group 1 for three Qualifying Round games, Ireland will meet Ukraine (Thursday, October 15), Andorra (Saturday, October 17), and Turkey (Tuesday, October 20) as they bid to take a step closer to next summer’s finals in Belarus.
Lagan Harps defender Zoe Green is part of the 18-strong squad who will be hoping to emerge from their group (the top two teams qualify) to secure a place in the Elite Round.
“I think this is looking like one of the most difficult groups since I’ve been involved with this age group, but we’re hoping that we can play well enough on Thursday to get a positive result,” said Bell.
“If the girls can implement some of the things that we’ve worked on in training we should have a chance. But all I’m asking is for them to play as best as they can and to really push themselves.
“Ukraine in our first game is going to be a difficult task and if we can get over that hurdle then I would be quietly confident that we can qualify. But it’s going to be a tough game so we have to be switched on for it.”
Two members of the Ireland squad – Saoirse Noonan and Heather Payne – featured in last summer’s UEFA WU17 Finals in Iceland and their knowledge of this level could be key in what should be difficult games.
Another important factor will be Bell’s coaching because he is vastly experienced and leaves no stone unturned in his preparation – which was evident from his time assisting Dave Connell with the Women’s Under 19 and U17 teams.
An opening win on Thursday would set the team up nicely for Saturday’s clash with Andorra before taking on hosts Turkey next Tuesday.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND WU17 SQUAD
Naoisha McAloon (Peamount United)
Sophie Lineman (Ballindaggin United)
Zoe Green (Lagan Harps)
Lauryn O’Callaghan (Peamount United)
Leah Reybet-Degat (FC Yverdon Feminin)
Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United)
Alex Kavanagh (Shelbourne Ladies)
Saoirse Noonan (Cork City WFC)
Heather Payne (Salthill Devon)
Lynn Craven (Shelbourne Ladies)
Tegan Ruddy (Peamount United)
Leanne Kiernan (Shelbourne Ladies)
Jade Reddy (Shelbourne Ladies)
Lauren Homan (Lakewood)
Tara O’Gorman (Cork City WFC)
Danielle Burke (Passage AFC)
Sadhbh Doyle (Salthill Devon)
Lauren Kelly (Peamount United)
Republic of Ireland v Ukraine, Thursday, October 15, Izmir, KO 15:30
Republic of Ireland v Andorra, Saturday, October 17, Izmir, KO 11:00
Turkey v Republic of Ireland, Tuesday, October 20, Kusadasi, KO 15:30
Posted: 9:56 am October 14, 2015
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