Connell's Irish Women's U19s prepare for UEFA Elite qualifiers

Connell's Irish Women's U19s prepare for UEFA Elite qualifiers

REPUBLIC of Ireland Women's U19 team Head Coach Dave Connell is targeting qualification for the UEFA Championships finals in Norway this summer as his squad prepares for the Elite Qualifying phase in the Netherlands this week.
1st Apr 2014

REPUBLIC of Ireland Women's U19 team Head Coach Dave Connell is targeting qualification for the UEFA Championships finals in Norway this summer as his squad prepares for the Elite Qualifying phase in the Netherlands this week.

Connell's side has lost just one game this season, a friendly away to Portugal in September, and head into their qualifying campaign in confident mood after beating Sweden in La Manga last month.

The Irish also drew with Denmark and England in the same competition and will have no fears as they head into the elite round against Austria, Netherlands and Turkey.

Although injuries have denied Connell the services of Katie McCabe, Jill Maloney and Lisa Casserly, Connell believes that the depth of talent he has available to him means his side has every reason to believe they can progress.

"A lot of the players have the experience of last year when we came so close to qualifying and we also have a good mix with the U17s who have no fear," he said.

"That was reflected in La Manga where they did very well. It's nice to have a good back bone of players from last year's group but I'm more pleased that we have a good mix with the U17s who have a cavalier attacking style about them."

Connell acknowledges that the format has given Irish a tough draw with their opening fixture against top seeds Austria on Saturday followed by hosts Holland on Monday before they meet Turkey next Thursday.

"In the past we would play one of the weaker sides first and build into it but perhaps it may work to our advantage the other way around," said the Irish boss.

"We're a facing a really tough side in Austria on Saturday. I've never beaten them and I don't know if Ireland ever has at this level. If we can go out and try to win first game it would really set us up for the tournament.

"Austria beat us 1-0 in Dublin last year in a friendly but I feel we're a lot better now. We've seen the DVD of their 3-1 friendly win over Belgium.

"We're going over there looking to win the group. That's our mentality. We're not over-confident but we saw what level we are capable of reaching when we out-played England in the second half of our game against them in La Manga.

"There's no team in this competition that will fancy playing us. We have players who can score goals."

Republic of Ireland Women's U19 squad:
Courtney Brosnan (PDA Slammers, USA)
Brooke Dunne (Peamount United)
Chloe Mustaki (Peamount United)
Ciara O'Connell (Wilton United)
Shannon Carson (St Mary's AFC)
Ciara Rossiter (Wexford Youths Women's AFC)
Keeva Keenan (Shelbourne FC)
Grace Wright (Texas A&M University, USA)
Savannah McCarthy (Listowel Celtic)
Lauren Dwyer (Wexford Youths Women's AFC)
Hayley Nolan (Peamount United)
Amy O'Connor (Wilton United)
Megan Connolly (College Corinthians)
Sarah Rowe (Castlebar Celtic)
Clare Shine (Raheny United)
Jessica Gargan (Peamount United)
Rachel Doyle (DLR Waves)
Ciara McNamara (St Mary's AFC)

FIXTURES

Saturday, April 5

UEFA Women's U19 Elite Qualifying Round Group 5
Austria v Republic of Ireland, Sportpark DVS '33 Ermelo, Ermelo (NED) (3.00pm Irish)

Monday, April 7
UEFA Women's U19 Elite Qualifying Round Group 5
Netherlands v Republic of Ireland, Sportpark DVS '33 Ermelo, Ermelo (NED) (6.30pm Irish)

Thursday, April 10
UEFA Women's U19 Elite Qualifying Round Group 5
Turkey v Republic of Ireland, De Strokel, Harderwijk (NED) (6.00pm Irish)