PHOTO: Heather Payne of Republic of Ireland in action during the UEFA European Women’s U17 Championship Qualifier.
Payne determined to end Ireland WU17 spell on a high against the Netherlands
Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 17s attacker Heather Payne believes the European Championships have been a ‘great experience’ ahead of the final game against the Netherlands.
Dave Bell’s squad will be heading home after the final Group B fixture having suffered two defeats against Norway and England in their first two matches.
A late header saw Ireland edged out against Norway to send the squad home but Payne believes the squad should take great confidence that they’re one of the top eight teams in Europe and are playing against the best at the Championships.
Payne said: “I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s been a great experience for us to be playing at a major tournament.
“We’ve done really well and the Norway game was really frustrating as we definitely deserved something out of the game because we played really well.
“We’re amongst the top eight teams in Europe to be at the tournament and we should definitely remember that because to reach these finals is a great achievement in itself.”
Peamount United attacker Payne looks set to start against the Netherlands, a game which will be her final game at Under 17s level having had some great moments, including a 30-yard free-kick winner against Hungary in the Elite Round.
With Ireland determined to claim victory before heading home, Payne is confident the team can produce a performance and get a result at the European Championships.
She continued: “It’s really disappointing to already be out of the competition ahead of the final game but that doesn’t change the desire we have to win.
“We want to represent ourselves in the right way and do well for the country. We’ve definitely improved since the tournament began so I’m really confident we can get a result.”
Ahead of the final game, the families of the players were invited to the team hotel on Saturday evening for the players’ first caps presentation and Payne said it was a great night for the players.
She added: “It was a really enjoyable experience to get my first cap for my country and to have my family there to witness it was great for me and all the players.”
Republic of Ireland WU17 Squad
Goalkeepers: Erica Turner (UCD Waves), Rachael Kelly (Shelbourne LFC)
Defenders: Isibeal Atkinson (Enniskerry), Doireann Fahey (Peamount United), Sadhbh Doyle (Galway WFC), Eabha O’Mahony (Lakewood), Roisin McGovern (Enniskerry), Lauryn Grier (Kentstown Rovers)
Midfielders: Tyler Toland (Maiden City), Megan Mackey (Chelsea LFC), Tiegan Ruddy (Shelbourne LFC), Aisling Spillane (Peamount United), Orla Casey (Wexford Youths), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne LFC), Phoebe Warner (West Bromwich Albion)
Forwards: Alannah McEvoy (Enniskerry), Carla McManus (Peamount United), Heather Payne (Peamount United)
Republic of Ireland WU17s tournament fixture schedule
2 May, 2017: Republic of Ireland 0-5 England, KO 11.00, Na Litavce, Pribram (CZE)
5 May, 2017: Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway, KO 11.00, Doosan Arena, Plzen (CZE)
8 May 2017 – Netherlands v Republic of Ireland, KO 14.00, Domazlice Stadium, Domazlice (CZE)
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