Ireland WU17: Bell's squad focused on Germany


Ireland WU17: Bell's squad focused on Germany

A strong performance in the opening game has focused minds in the Republic of Ireland Women's Under-17 camp ahead of their second game against Germany on Saturday.
22nd Mar 2019

Confidence was good amongst the squad as they reflected on their 1-1 draw with Norway on Wednesday evening.

But attentions have now well and truly shifted to Germany, as the Irish squad prepare to take them on in the National Performance Centre, Edinburgh - the game has a 12noon kick-off.

Bar Emily Kraft, who went off injured in the Norway game, Head Coach Colin Bell has a full squad to chose from for the middle fixture of this European Elite Round qualifying campaign.

And Bell is feeling optimistic about what his team have learned, and how they are progressing, after their solid display in the first fixture.

"We definitely should have won the game. Reflecting on it now, the performance was good, at times, very good," said Bell.

"The girls also realise that the chances were there, and they could also tell that there was a big improvement in their performance and that they were quite capable of playing some good football against one of the top nations. That was very pleasing. What we have to work on is being clinical, being switched on all the time in defending and attacking. But as I said after the game that is characteristic of the age group. It's not a negative, it's just a natural fact. The girls will improve in that area."

Having reflected on the Norway game, Bell's and his squad's, attention quickly shifted to Germany, and everybody is excited about the challenge ahead.

He said: "We're looking forward to the next game now. That's the thing about these kinds of tournaments, you don't have much time to dwell on the last game. We have to pick out what's important and we've done that. Obviously we know that it's going to be a really tough task.

"Over the last few years, at this age group, it really has been Germany, Spain, sometimes France, that have dominated. But the Germans are always there or there abouts. The game against Norway was very high tempo so that will have taken it's toll. And also, the indoor facility here is fantastic but it is astro-turf and that is a different game, it does take it out of you. We've got to be awake all the time.

"In these kind of games, if you make one little mistake or have a positional slip, you are asking for trouble. Germany have the quality to expose every team. But bar Emily Kraft, everybody is fit and raring to go."

The camp was dealt a blow when news came through yesterday that Kraft's injury in the Norway match was a damaged anterior cruciate ligament. 

"The mood was a bit subdued yesterday because unfortunately we found out that Emily Kraft has an ACL injury. That means a long process of an operation and then rehab. It's very, very unfortunate. But Emily is a fantastic girl that has fantastic character. She's upbeat this morning, the girls are taking care of her. She wants to stay in the camp and we're involving her in the process of analysing the German team. Nobody knows the German team better than Emily," said Bell.

And Kraft's team-mates are more than looking forward to the game tomorrow, as 16-year-old, Peamount player, Orla Prendergast, explained.

She said: "I'm really excited for the game. It's a fantastic challenge to play against Germany, such a big strong footballing nation that everybody would recognise as being one of the best. It will be a tough challenge and we will have to work very hard, and work together, in order to get a result. It'll be tough and we know that, but I definitely think we are up for the challenge."

Prendergast only recently returned to the Irish squad after suffering a hamstring and knee injury last year in Serbia.

"For me personally, it was really good to get back on the pitch. I have had a tough time in past camps with injuries, so getting back out there was a really good feeling. I was nervous to start, it was my first international game in a while because of the injuries, but once I got into it, it was so good. There's nothing like playing for your country."

And she also feels positive about the performance the team put in in the first game.

She said: "The girls and I definitely gave a good account of ourselves. We knew Norway was going to be a tough game, they're physical, strong and quick. But we definitely played well and did well with our result. And we could even have got the win. I think it's good though to be always looking for more and always be looking to improve."

Republic of Ireland WU17 Squad
Goalkeepers: Courtney Maguire (Shelbourne), Maeve Williams (Wexford Youths)
Defenders: Therese Kinnevey (Galway Women's), Eabha O'Mahony (Cork City), Ellie Ferguson (Shelbourne), Shauna Brennan (Galway Women's), Mia Dodd (Shelbourne), Zara Foley (Cork City)
Midfielders: Rebecca Cooke (Shelbourne), Aoibheann Clancy (Limerick), Orla Prendergast (Peamount United), Della Doherty (Peamount United), Erin McLaughlin (Sea Rovers FC), Taylor White (Shelbourne)
Forwards: Lauren Egbuloniu (Cork City), Sophie Liston (Limerick), Emily Whelan (Shelbourne), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne), Blessing Kingsley (Wexford Youths)

UEFA Women's European Under-17 Championship Elite Round - Group Four
March 20: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Norway
March 23: Germany v Republic of Ireland, 12pm, National Performance Centre, Edinburgh
March 26: Scotland v Republic of Ireland, 2.30pm, Ainslie Park, Edinburgh