Experience teaches McQuillan to remain focused

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Experience teaches McQuillan to remain focused

Two trips to UEFA European Championship tournaments can either spoil a player or make them motivated to reach a third. Amanda McQuillan subscribes to the latter.
17th Oct 2016

Now entering her fourth qualifying campaign with the Republic of Ireland Women's Under 19s, the Meath native is taking all of the preparation in her stride ahead of Tuesday's game against Macedonia.

Dave Connell's squad travelled to Southern Europe with the intention of returning home clutching a place in the Elite Round, but overcoming their hosts in the first of three Qualifying Round games is where it all starts.

McQuillan, one of the senior players in a youthful squad, knows exactly what is at stake and how to go about achieving their goal.

"It's very important to get off to a good start in qualifying because we have such a short amount of time to pick up results and every game matters," said McQuillan.

"We are only looking at Macedonia right now because they are the first team up. If we can beat them then we will go into the other games high on confidence, but we have to win the game first."

It sounds quite simple: win your games and qualify for the next stage. Except McQuillan knows all about the potential pitfalls as well as finding the route to the finals - she was part of the 'History Girls' U19 squad in 2014 and the 'Ice Queens' U17 squad in 2015.

The agile goalkeeper, who plays her club football with Shelbourne Ladies, believes in her team-mates and when she expresses that level of trust it feels genuine as she glows about individual talent, collective unity, and competition for places.

"This is a really good squad and it's kind of silly the amount of talented players that we have. The good thing is that we all get along and that's key because it helps you click on the pitch," said McQuillan.

"Dave (Connell) is going to have a difficult time picking 11 players for each game and it's up to us to make it a tough job for him. We also have to perform in the games and make sure that we get results - starting with Macedonia."

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)