Portugal - Republic of Ireland | 2018 - Senior Womens Friendlies | 999944357

Senior Women's Friendlies International Friendly | Estadio San Miguel, The Azores, Portugal
18 Jan 2018 19:00

Portugal vs Republic of Ireland

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Ireland WNT: Kiernan looking forward to positive 2018

Republic of Ireland Women's National Team striker Leanne Kiernan played a major part in a positive ending to 2017, and wants to help build a positive 2018.
17th Jan 2018

The WNT are currently in the Azores ahead of two friendly international games against Portugal this week. The first fixture will take place tomorrow at 7pm (6pm local time) as Colin Bell's Ireland side look to start the New Year with a positive result. 

Ireland are currently unbeaten in their FIFA 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign after their impressive 0-0 draw in the Netherlands in November and will continue their campaign in April against Slovakia at Tallaght Stadium. 

Kiernan played a major role in the draw against the Netherlands, coming on in the second-half, and she believes the WNT can continue that form in 2018, starting with tomorrow's game against Portugal. 

The Shelbourne Ladies striker said: "It was a fantastic year for the team and I was delighted to be a part of it. 

"To end the year with the result against the Netherlands was fantastic and a real confidence boost to the whole team. It shows we can get results against the best teams and that we're right in the qualifying campaign.

"It's important we continue that form into this year and these two games against Portugal will be a great test. It was a long trip out here but we're all looking forward to getting back on the pitch tomorrow."

Colin Bell named three Women's Under-17 internationals in his squad for the two games as Zara Foley, Amy Boyle-Carr and Eabha O'Mahony were all included in the senior squad for the first time.

All three could make their senior international debuts this week and ahead of tomorrow's game, Kiernan has backed the youngsters in the squad and has praised the quality on show in training.

Kiernan added: "It's great to see the young ones coming up into the senior squad and getting the chance to impress. 

"The standard in training has been extremely good and they've really impressed. It really shows there is plenty of young talent coming through in Ireland and that is really good for the future.

"It will be a difficult game tomorrow as they were at the European Championships ahead of us but we need to be testing ourselves against the best to keep improving. 

"We've got two crucial games in April and these games will be really important for us to continue what has been an excellent qualifying campaign so far."

TEAM NEWS: Karen Duggan and Sophie Perry have both pulled out of the squad through injury and have been replaced by Ruesha Littlejohn and Claire O'Riordan.