2014 has been an eventful year for teenagers Clare Shine and Katie McCabe and it just keeps getting better.
Weeks after helping Ireland’s U19s reach the semi-finals of the UEFA European Women’s U19 Championships, and days after being part of the Raheny United side which reached the last 32 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the duo found themselves spending the last three days with the Women’s National Team.
Manager Sue Ronan, who is currently preparing her squad for Wednesday’s Women’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia at Tallaght Stadium (7.30pm), brought the pair in to train with the senior squad and they have spent the last three days at the team’s headquarters in Dunboyne.
Shine has already had a taste of the senior set-up having been brought to the Winter Training Camp in La Manga last January but for McCabe it was her first involvement and she admits it has been eye-opener.
“It was my first time getting called in by Sue so I was pretty happy. It was good playing with all the girls. Just to be training with them was something special,” said McCabe who admitted she immediately noticed the jump in standard. “It’s quite a gap. We play with a lot of older girls but it’s quicker and faster and even in training there is a higher demand.”
Shine said she had enjoyed both her spells with the senior squad and relished the opportunity to play against England and Holland in practice matches when she was in Spain.
“It was a brilliant experience for me. It was a huge step up from the U19s. I thought the intensity and all that kind of stuff was huge. I struggled a bit but hopefully over the next few years I’ll get use to it,” said Shine who admitted moving so quickly from the U19s to the senior squad took a bit of adapting to for both of them. “We’ve gone from being the oldest girls in the U19s to being the babies for this. It’s different, but it’s cool.”
And having tasted the senior set-up both want more. “We will be looking to stay in this team so we are going to get our heads down and play hard,” said McCabe.
Ronan, who has successfully brought through seven of the successful 2010 U17 squad to the senior ranks, believes the Raheny pair have the potential to force their way into the senior set-up.
“They’ve done really well this week. They know it is a big jump from the U19s into the senior squad but they now know where the bar is at and what they need to do if they want to step up. I’ll be watching them closely during the National League because they are both promising prospects.”
Ronan’s squad played the 2014-15 U19 squad in a training match on Saturday and trained at Carton House yesterday and today. They will finish off their preparations tomorrow with a practice session at Tallaght Stadium and Ronan is happy with how things have gone.
“We have a few niggles and some were suffering from a virus but everything is starting to clear up and I am confident I will have a full squad to pick from for Wednesday’s game,” said Ronan.
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.