Katie McCabe

Spain brings back happy memories for Republic of Ireland’s Katie McCabe

Tomorrow’s international friendly with Spain will bring back some happy memories for Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team winger Katie McCabe.

Nine months ago she was part of the Ireland U19 side that beat Spain 1-0 in their opening game at the UEFA European Women’s U19 Championship in Norway. It was a result that kick-started a fabulous tournament for the Irish girls that finally finished in a semi-final defeat by the eventual winners Netherlands

McCabe, who won’t turn 20 until September, is now a member of the senior squad with three caps under her belt and is looking forward to tomorrow’s game against the Spanish in the Mareo Stadium, Asturias (17:00, Irish time).

“It is a great memory. Hopefully we can repeat that result tomorrow but it’s going to be even tougher. They were a really good team at U19 level and I know their senior team is going to be even better. No matter whether it’s the men or the women, Spain always have good teams. They will be very quick, decent on the ball and we are going to have work very hard. There were a few Spanish players in the Bristol Academy team that Raheny played against in the Champions League and they definitely had an impact on the match.”

Shortly after returning from Norway with the U19s, McCabe was training with the senior squad and, after going on the Winter Training Camp to La Manga, she was selected in the squad for the Istria Cup in Croatia where things went much better than she could have dreamed of.

“The Istria Cup was brilliant for me. I didn’t expect to get my first cap out there but I made my debut against Hungary and ended getting 90 minutes in two games and 70 minutes in another. It was a great experience. It is definitely a higher level than I have experienced before. It’s much quicker and sharper and you don’t get much time on the ball. Also you soon realise that chances can be scarce and when they do fall your way you have to take them.”

Despite being the youngest member of the squad, McCabe says she has been made to feel at home by the older players and has enjoyed picking their brains as she tries to learn the ropes.

“They’ve all been very good and I have had little chats with the likes of Emma Byrne and Niamh Fahey that have been very helpful. They’ve had very successful careers so it is great to get advice from them,” says McCabe.

Ireland manager Sue Ronan won’t name her team until just before kick-off tomorrow as she is waiting for a couple of little niggles to clear and wants to have a full strength squad to select from.

“This will be our toughest test since we played Germany last September. Spain are an excellent team who are preparing to go to the World Cup Finals as one of the potential winners. They are very good on the ball and keep possession well but they can also deliver dangerous crosses from either flank. We will have to be at our very best to match to them so it is a formidable challenge for us,” said Ronan.

Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team Squad (v Spain)

Goalkeepers:

Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Niamh Reid-Burke (Raheny United).

Defenders:

Megan Campbell (Florida State University), Meabh De Burca (Galway WFC), Niamh Fahey (Chelsea), Aine O’Gorman (UCD Waves), Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United).

Midfielders:

Emma Beckett (Amazon Grimstad), Diane Caldwell (Avaldsnes), Ciara Grant (UCD Waves), Siobhan Killeen (Raheny United), Denise O’Sullivan (Glasgow City), Julie Ann Russell (UCD Waves).

Forwards:

Carol Breen (Wexford Youths Women’s AFC), Ruesha Littlejohn (Celtic), Katie McCabe (Raheny United), Fiona O’Sullivan (Notts County).

Issued by: Gerry McDermott

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