Women's National Team Squad named for games v USA and Haiti
Republic of Ireland Women's National Team manager Sue Ronan has named her squad for this month's friendly internationals against USA and Haiti.
Ireland will play World No.2 USA on Sunday, May 10, in San Jose before playing Haiti three days later in Lauderhill, Florida. The USA game will be shown live on Setanta Ireland at 8.06pm while the Haiti game kicks off at 1am (Irish time) on the morning of Thursday, May 14.
Because the matches are outside the international calendar Ronan has been forced to plan without many of her established players who are based overseas and will face the Americans without first choice players Emma Byrne, Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Sophie Perry and Diane Caldwell, who are all required by their clubs that weekend. Byrne and Fahey will link up with the squad for the Haiti game while Fiona O'Sullivan, who hails from California, has been given permission by Notts County to play in the USA game. The squad includes Stephanie Roche and Megan Campbell who are based in America, as well as International Player of the Year, Julie Ann Russell. It also includes Continental Tyres Women's National League Player of the Year, Aine O'Gorman, who won her 75th cap last month against Spain.
Ronan is bringing five uncapped players to America including three members of the Wexford Youths squad that recently won the Continental Tyres Women's National League for the first time. The trio includes Continental Tyres Women's National League Young Player of the Year Ciara Rossiter, as well as Jessica Gleeson and Nicola Sinnott, all of whom have played at under-age level for Ireland. Castlebar Celtic's Emma Hansberry, whose last inclusion was for the 2014 Cyprus Cup, is also named in the squad.
"We had been under the impression when these fixtures were agreed that the overseas leagues would be on their break for the World Cup and we'd have access to all our players, however, that is not now the case! So it leaves us facing one of the best teams in the world without a lot of experienced players which is obviously not ideal," said Ronan who will be taking charge of Ireland for the 44th time. "However the flip side of that is it has allowed me the opportunity to have a look at some other players and it gives them the chance to stake a claim for inclusion in the Euro 2017 qualifiers, which begin in September. We'll be facing the USA's World Cup squad in the first of three matches they have fixed as part of their final preparation for the tournament in Canada, so it's going to be a tough assignment. But it's also a great opportunity and great experience for my players."
The second match of the trip will see the Irish face World No. 62 Haiti in the early hours of Thursday morning, Irish time.
"The CONCACAF region is very strong and its four top teams are all going to the World Cup. Haiti are currently ranked sixth in the region and only lost 1-0 to Mexico in their most recent match, so I've no doubt they will be tough, but it will be interesting to play against an opponent we wouldn't normally get the chance to play against. We will have Emma Byrne and Niamh Fahey with us for that match, so they will obviously add more experience, but we lose Fiona O'Sullivan. However, we will only start thinking about that game once we have the USA game out of the way," said Ronan.
With Byrne unavailable for the USA game, a second goalkeeper will be named over the coming days for that match.
Sunday, May 10,
USA v Republic of Ireland, Avaya Stadium, San Jose, California (USA), 12:06 (Irish Time) (live on Setanta Ireland)
Thursday, May 14
Haiti v Republic of Ireland, Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Florida (USA), 01:00 (Irish Time).
GOALKEEPERS: EMMA BYRNE (Arsenal), NIAMH REID-BURKE (Raheny United).
DEFENDERS: MEGAN CAMPBELL (Florida State University), MEABH DE BURCA (Galway WFC), KAREN DUGGAN (UCD Waves), NIAMH FAHEY (Chelsea) AINE O'GORMAN (UCD Waves), CLARE ROSSITER (Wexford Youths Women's AFC), NICOLA SINNOTT (Wexford Youths Women's AFC).
MIDFIELDERS: EMMA BECKETT (Amazon Grimstad), JESSICA GLEESON (Wexford Youths Women's AFC), CIARA GRANT (UCD Waves), EMMA HANSBERRY (Castlebar Celtic), DENISE O'SULLIVAN Glasgow City).
FORWARDS: RUESHA LITTLEJOHN (Celtic), KATIE McCABE (Raheny United), FIONA O'SULLIVAN (Notts County), STEPHANIE ROCHE (Houston Dash), JULIE ANN RUSSELL (UCD Waves).