Connell ready for new campaign with WU19s

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Connell ready for new campaign with WU19s

Dave Connell is excited to get started in a new UEFA European Championship qualifying campaign with his Republic of Ireland Women's Under 19 squad.
16th Oct 2016

In Macedonia for three Qualifying Round games, Ireland are aiming to do enough to march on to the Elite Round before hopefully booking a place at next summer's finals tournament in Northern Ireland.

First things first, Connell is keeping his players focused on their opening game. Taking on the hosts, Macedonia, on Tuesday afternoon will not be a straightforward assignment, as their experienced head coach knows all too well.

"This is a tricky group. We will be expected, by many, to beat Macedonia and that brings a type of challenge that our players will have to rise to," said Connell.

"I'm very excited about this squad and I believe that we can go all the way to the finals. But we have three big challenges to overcome, starting with Macedonia, and we cannot take anything for granted."

Connell has been down this road before, as Under 19 and Under 17 head coach, and twice he has led teams to European finals. So when he offers advice, it is worth paying close attention.

Experience is something that is shared amongst his squad with two players having been part of the 'History Girls' squad that reached the European semi-finals in 2014 and 13 players having travelled to Iceland for the European finals in 2015.

The newcomers to the group are goalkeeper Naoisha McAloon, defender Lynn Craven, midfielder Alex Kavanagh, and striker Leanne Kiernan, while Niamh Farrelly has previously been involved with the squad.

Connell is upbeat about his team's chances and his diligent approach to these qualifying campaigns (which includes assembling a shrewd backroom staff) will be crucial as they get going.

The first game kicks off on Tuesday, October 18 and Connell feels that preparations are going well. But it's all about translating that into a solid performance on the pitch and that is exactly what he will be asking of his players.

Fixtures
Tuesday, October 18: Republic of Ireland v Macedonia, FFM Training Centre, Skopje, KO 13:30
Thursday, October 20: Republic of Ireland v Wales, Boris Trajkovski, Skopje, KO 13:30
Sunday, October 23: Republic of Ireland v Italy, Boris Trajkovski, Skopje, KO 13:30

Republic of Ireland Women's Under 19s
Goalkeepers: Amanda McQuillan (Shelbourne Ladies), Naoisha McAloon (Peamount United)
Defenders: Lucy McCartan (Peamount United), Fiona Donnelly, Lynn Craven (Shelbourne Ladies), Chloe Moloney (Galway WFC), Jamie Finn (Florida Gulf Coast University), Niamh Prior (UCD Waves)
Midfielders: Evelyn Daly, Saoirse Noonan (Cork City WFC), Alex Kavanagh, Sophie Watters (Shelbourne Ladies), Roma McLaughlin, Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United), Jessica Nolan (Galway WFC)
Forwards: Eleanor Ryan-Doyle, Dearbhabile Beirne (UCD Waves), Leanne Kiernan (Shelbourne Ladies)