Bell selects WU17s squad for Elite Round

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Bell selects WU17s squad for Elite Round

With a place at this summer's UEFA Women's Under 17 European Championships at stake, Dave Bell has selected a strong Republic of Ireland squad for their three Elite Round games.
11th Mar 2017

In the Qualifying Round, Ireland were one of the stand-out teams as they scored 12 goals in three victories in Turner's Cross to top Group 10. It was a testament to Bell's diligent coaching that they qualified so emphatically.

However, Bell is experienced enough to know that nothing is guaranteed in football. It is why he views the campaign as only a quarter of a way through with three Elite Round games and then a finals in Czech Republic to aim for.

In order to reach the finals tournament in May, Ireland must win Group 4 - containing Serbia, Scotland and Hungary - or finish as runner-up with the best record against the sides first and third in their pool. It's not going to be easy.

"We have a young squad - half of which still qualify for the Under 16s - but I have no fear about the players being capable of performing at this level and winning the three games," said Bell.

"It is a bonus that most of this squad will be eligible again next year because they will gain so much experience and develop as players. But they are in this squad because they are the in-form players and I'm excited to see them in action.

"Technically, we are a very good team and we have as good of a chance to qualify as any other team. It is a difficult start against the host nation, but we have no fear and we are taking the attitude that we have to win all three games."

Bell - along with his assistants Laura Cusack and Pat Began - knows all about guiding an Under 17 team to the European Championships having done it with Dave Connell in 2015. So he isn't taking anything for granted.

"We have three girls from last year's squad in Tiegan Ruddy, Sadhbh Doyle and Heather Payne whose experience will be crucial to pass on to the younger players. I can't give them enough credit for what they've done so far, but we have to keep it going," explained Bell.

"Last year we finished as runners-up in the Elite Round and it wasn't good enough to qualify. This year we are going in with the aim to win all three games and to win at all costs. We have one chance to do it and we are ready."

Republic of Ireland WU17 Squad
Goalkeepers: Rachael Kelly (Shelbourne Ladies), Erica Turner (UCD Waves)
Defenders: Sadhbh Doyle (Galway WFC), Tiegan Ruddy (Shelbourne Ladies), Chloe Singleton (Peamount United), Roisin McGovern (Enniskerry), Bethany Carroll (Kilkenny United WFC), Lauryn Grier (Kentstown Rovers)
Midfielders: Heather Payne, Aisling Spillane, Gillian Keenan, Doireann Fahy (Peamount United), Megan Mackey (Chelsea Ladies), Tyler Toland (Maiden City)
Forwards: Carla McManus (Peamount United), Alannah McEvoy, Isibeal Atkinson (Enniskerry), Eabha O'Mahony (Lakewood)

Fixtures
13 March: Republic of Ireland v Serbia, Stara Pazova, Serbia, KO 13:00
15 March: Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Gradski Zemum, Serbia, KO 13:00
18 March: Republic of Ireland v Hungary, Gradski Zemum, Serbia, KO 13:00