Connell ready to kickstart new qualifying campaign with Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 19s
The Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 19s travel to Slovenia for three UEFA European Championship first phase qualifying games this week.
Dave Connell’s team are bidding to secure a place at next summer’s finals in Slovakia but must first find a way out of Group 10, which also contains Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Russia.
Connell has successfully negotiated these early stages before – leading his 2014 team all the way to the European Championship semi-finals in Norway – but he knows that there is little margin for error in these games.
“The friendly games that we had (against Scotland and Northern Ireland) gave us the opportunity to look at certain players, so some came through that very well and it made my life a little bit more difficult to pick the 18 players,” said Connell.
“It’s been good preparation. We drew two of the games, won the other one, and we steadily got better through the three games, so hopefully we can bring that into the tournament.”
The good news for Connell is that he is able to select a strong squad primarily made up of girls who have competed in either the U19 Finals tournament or this past summer’s U17 Finals tournament in Iceland.
Assisted by the likes of Adrian Carberry, Pat Behan, and Mazz Sweeney, Connell knows that he has the right staff and players to top their qualifying group; now they just need a little bit of luck and to show their quality on the pitch.
“I think there is only one girl in the squad who has not been involved in a finals, so all of the other girls have lots of experience so hopefully we can bring that into the First Phase and get ourselves into the Elite Phase,” said Connell.
“It would certainly be the icing on the cake if we could get to the Elite Phase and into another finals but we’re taking nothing for granted. We slipped up last year and we certainly don’t intend on doing that this year.”
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND WOMEN’S UNDER 19 SQUAD
Amanda McQuillan (Shelbourne Ladies FC)
Brooke Dunne (Quinnipiac Bobcats)
Fiona Donnelly (Shelbourne Ladies FC)
Lucy McCartan (Peamount United FC)
Keeva Keenan (Shelbourne Ladies FC)
Chloe Moloney (Connolly Celtic FC)
Savannah McCarthy (Unattached)
Emma Byrne (Peamount United FC)
Sophie Watters (Shelbourne Ladies FC)
Evelyn Daly (Cork City WFC)
Roma McLaughlin (Peamount United FC)
Hayley Nolan (Hartford Hawks)
Jamie Finn (Shelbourne Ladies FC)
Jessica Nolan (Castlebar Celtic FC)
Megan Connolly (Flordia State University)
Sarah McKevitt (Peamount United FC)
Dearbhaile Beirne (Shelbourne Ladies FC)
Eleanor Ryan Doyle (UCD Waves)
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND WU19 FIXTURES
Republic of Ireland WU19 v Slovenia, Tuesday, September 15, KO 3.00pm, Gornja Radgona, Slovenia
Republic of Ireland WU19 v Bulgaria, Thursday, September 17, KO 3.00pm, Gornja Radgona, Slovenia
Republic of Ireland WU19 v Russia, Sunday, September 20, KO 3.00pm, Gornja Radgona, Slovenia
VIDEO: Dave Connell looks ahead to the 1st phase qualifier in Slovenia
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.