Ireland WNT: Bell names 18-player squad for Poland
The WNT travel to Ostroda to take on Poland in an international friendly on Tuesday, October 9, with kick-off at 5pm (6pm local time).
With the recent retirements of Aine O'Gorman and Karen Duggan, Head Coach Colin Bell has named a number of changes to the squad as he sets his sights on the start of the UEFA 2021 European Championships qualifying campaign which begins in September 2019.
Shelbourne Ladies striker Emily Whelan receives her first call-up to the senior squad whilst Brighton and Hove Albion defender Sophie Perry and London Bees midfielder Ruesha Littlejohn return to the squad. Midfielder Tyler Toland has been ruled out of the friendly with an injury sustained in the final game of the qualifying campaign against Northern Ireland.
Cork City's Zara Foley also receives a call-up after impressing in the recent Women's Under 17 friendly matches against the Czech Republic whilst Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney keeps her place in the squad.
Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Marie Hourihan has recovered from injury which ruled her out of the 4-0 win over Northern Ireland as Ireland prepare for their final match of 2018. The WNT are set to have a Dublin-based November training camp ahead of three friendly fixtures in 2019.
Ireland will travel to the Pinatar Arena in Murcia, Spain to face Belgium on Sunday, January 20 before returning to Spain in February for a match against Wales in Marbella, with the date to be confirmed. Finally, the WNT will travel to Italy to face the Italians on Tuesday, April 9 as Ireland look to prepare for the UEFA 2021 European Championships qualifying campaign.
"It is going to be a really tough test against Poland. They're a team who've shown signs of progress in recent years and finished third in their qualifying campaign," said WNT Head Coach Colin Bell.
"We've set up a number of international friendlies and as you can see, they're all against quality opposition. I believe it's important to always test yourself against the best teams so we can be in the best shape possible heading into the European Championships qualifying campaign in September next year.
"Since the end of the qualifying campaign, we've had Aine O'Gorman and Karen Duggan retire so it's important we look to bring through the next generation of talent. The likes of Heather Payne, Isibeal Atkinson and Amy Boyle-Carr will be with the Women's Under-19 squad this year as they look to qualify for the European Championships next summer.
"Emily Whelan comes into the squad for her first senior call-up, a player I've worked with in the Women's Under-17 squad and in home-based sessions over the last year, and I believe she'll benefit from spending time with the senior squad.
"Also, delighted to welcome Marie Hourihan back to the squad following injury as well as Ruesha Littlejohn and Sophie Perry as it is important we get the right blend of youth and experience."
Republic of Ireland WNT Squad v Poland
Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (Brighton and Hove Albion), Grace Moloney (Reading)
Defenders: Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Sophie Perry (Brighton and Hove Albion), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Claire O'Riordan (MSV Duisburg).
Midfielders: Denise O'Sullivan (NC Courage), Aislinn Meaney (Galway Women's), Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Ruesha Littlejohn (London Bees), Zara Foley (Cork City), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne).
Forwards: Leanne Kiernan (West Ham United), Rianna Jarrett (Wexford Youths), Amber Barrett (Peamount United), Emily Whelan (Shelbourne).
Fixtures - International Friendlies
09/10/2018 - Poland v Republic of Ireland, Municipal Stadium, Ostroda - KO 5pm (6pm local time)
20/01/2019 - Belgium v Republic of Ireland, Pinatar Arena, Murcia (Spain), - TBC
02/2019 - Wales v Republic of Ireland, Marbella, Spain - TBC (Date, KO TBC)
09/04/2019 - Italy v Republic of Ireland, Italy - TBC (Venue, KO TBC)