Niamh Fahey

Republic of Ireland midfielder Niamh Fahey wants improvement in second Portugal friendly

Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team midfielder Niamh Fahey wants to see an improvement in tomorrow’s second international friendly against Portugal.

Colin Bell’s Ireland side suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat in the first friendly on Thursday as captain Dolores Silva netted a second-half penalty.

Ireland had few chances in the game as they look to use the week as crucial preparation for the upcoming FIFA 2019 World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and the Netherlands at Tallaght Stadium in April.

Fahey, who moved from Chelsea to Bordeaux last year, has been a crucial member of Colin Bell’s starting XI during the qualifying campaign and she believes every game and training session is important preparation for the April qualifiers.

Fahey said: “We were obviously really disappointed with our performance the other night. We didn’t really give them many chances so to lose the game was difficult to take.

“We took a lot from the defeat though and we’ve analysed the game, and we’ll be looking to bring that into tomorrow’s game. Portugal are obviously a really good side and now we know what levels we need to be at to get the result we need.

“The standard has been excellent in training this week and it’s a really important week for us to work on our tactics ahead of those April qualifiers. We’ve got the trip to Fota Island in February as well but every training session is crucial in working towards those fixtures.”

Stephanie Roche, Aine O’Gorman, Megan Campbell, Sophie Perry and Karen Duggan have all missed the trip to the Azores due to injury which has seen a number of young players called up to the squad.

Fahey has praised the quality of the young players and says the group are determined to get a positive result in the second international friendly to round off an important week.

She added: “The young players have done extremely well. Obviously, we’re a bit short at the moment with the amount of injuries we’ve had but the girls have stepped up from the Women’s Under-17s and they’ve fitted in brilliantly.

“It can be a really difficult step up to make so credit must go to them. It’s been a great week really. Of course, it is a bit warmer than home so a bit of warm weather training is always really good for the fitness at this time of year.

“We know what we need to do tomorrow and we’ll be determined to get a positive result to round off another good week. It would give us a real lift and I’m looking forward to it.”

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