Saoirse Noonan
Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-19 and Cork City WFC forward Saoirse Noonan at Turner’s Cross ahead of Monday’s UEFA Elite Round qualifier against Austria / SPORTSFILE

Austria first up for Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-19s

Dave Connell’s squad set for three UEFA Elite Round qualifiers

Qualification for this summer’s UEFA European Championships in Switzerland is the aim for the Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-19s as they kick off the first of three qualifying games on Monday.

The talented squad will take on Austria in Turner’s Cross at 15:00 to set in motion what Head Coach Dave Connell hopes will a successful start to the final leg of qualifying for this year’s tournament.

Connell does not have any injury concerns, which makes his job even more difficult to select a starting line-up from a roster made up of players who have impressed in the Emerging Talent Programme, Fota Island Resort Gaynor Tournament, and Continental Tyres Women’s National League.

One of those to stand out has been Cork City WFC playmaker Saoirse Noonan. The fleet-footed attacker was part of Connell’s U-17 squad that reached the European Finals in Iceland in 2015 and now wants to lead the U19s all the way.

Noonan – who appeared in the Club & Country video series – believes home advantage could be a key factor as each of Ireland’s games against Austria, Turkey and Spain are in Cork. But they need to get off to a good start.

“I think it’s every girl’s dream to go to the finals and it’s motivating the players that haven’t been there to get there and experience that. That’s where we want to be,” Noonan told FAI TV.

“It’s three tough teams. We went over and played Turkey two years ago and beat them 3-0 but I think they are going to be tough. Spain are the reigning champions so they are going to be our biggest task but we’re going to focus on our first game and that’s what’s on our minds now.

“People in Cork always support soccer. Hopefully we can get a good crowd out and they can all come support us and put us through to the end.”

Entry is free for all 2017/18 FAI Season Ticket holders.

Republic of Ireland WU19 Squad

Goalkeepers:

Naoisha McAloon (Peamount United),
Erica Turner (UCD Waves)

Defenders:

Niamh Farrelly,
Lauryn O’Callaghan (Peamount United),
Danielle Burke (Cork City),
Sadbh Doyle (Galway WFC),
Tiegan Ruddy (Shelbourne Ladies)

Midfielders:

Chloe Singleton,
Sinead Donavon (Galway WFC),
Alex Kavanagh,
Lynn Craven (Shelbourne Ladies),
Megan Mackey (Chelsea),
Phobhe Warner (Aston Villa),
Orla Casey (Wexford Youths WFC)

Forwards:

Saoirse Noonan (Cork City WFC),
Aoife Thompson,
Lucia Lobato (Galway WFC),
Kate Mooney,
Alannah McEvoy (Shelbourne Ladies),
Naima Chemaou (UCD Waves)

2017/18 UEFA Women’s Under-19 European Championships Elite Round Fixtures

April 2: Republic of Ireland v Austria, Turners Cross, 15:00
April 5: Spain v Republic of Ireland, Turners Cross, 19:00
April 8: Turkey v Republic of Ireland, Turners Cross, 14:00

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