Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Emma Byrne is set to break the Women’s National Team appearance record today when she captains the side in their FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Germany at Tallaght Stadium (15:00)
Byrne is currently tied on 105 caps with her former Arsenal team-mate Ciara Grant and in addition to becoming Ireland’s most capped women’s player she will also move to fourth in the all-time player list behind Robbie Keane, Shay Given and Kevin Kilbane.
“It’s a great honour and it’s fantastic that it is happening in a home game in front of my family. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been a long time coming and I thought I’d never catch Ciara,” said Byrne.
Today’s game is Ireland’s fourth in the World Cup qualifying campaign and they go into it after a great start with seven points from three games against Slovakia (2-0), Croatia (1-1) and Slovenia (3-0) to lie second behind the Germans.
However, Germany have shown in their five games to date why they have won six European Championships in a row and are ranked No.2 in the world. They have beaten Russia (9-0), Slovenia (13-0), Croatia (4-0 and 8-0) and Slovakia (6-0) on their way to recording a record of 40 goals for and none against. In addition they won last month’s Algarve Cup with wins over Iceland (5-0), China (1-0), Norway (3-1) and Japan (3-0).
“It all shows what a difficult test we face,” says Ireland manager Sue Ronan. “We’ve prepared really well for this game and had a great tournament at the Cyprus Cup last month. While we are still a very young team the girls are starting to play with lots of confidence and little fear so I think the future is looking bright.”
Today’s game will kick-off at 3pm and admission to Tallaght Stadium will be €5 for adults and €2 for U16s and students. It will be preceded by a Girls Festival of Football which will be part of the FIFA Live Your Goals campaign and is being hosted by local Tallaght club Sacred Heart from 12.30pm to 2pm