Irish managers hail Algarve training camp
The Republic of Ireland women's U19 and U17 teams continued their preparations for their respective UEFA Championship, elite qualifying phases earlier this month with a training camp in Portugal from the 26th February - 6th March.
Over 40 players from both age groups completed the intensive eight day training camp which included games against the USA Region 3 Olympic Development Programme squad. Among the highlights of the Algarve assignment was Noel King's sides 2-1 victory over the Americans which was the first time the Olympic Development squad have been beaten in three years.
The Irish took the lead after ten minutes through Cork based youngster, Denise O'Sullivan following a neat build up involving Ciara Grant who played a sublime through ball to Niamh McLoughlin who flicked it to O'Sullivan and she made no mistake from close range. The Americans drew level in the 40th minute following a defensive mix-up but St. Francis' starlet, Megan Campbell scored the winning goal with ten minutes to go from a Siobhan Killeen corner.
Irish U17 manager, Noel King hailed his team's performance over the eight days, "Obviously the result against the Americans was definitely the highlight of the trip. We won the game 2-1 but in truth, it could have been so much more if we took our chances in front of goal. The USA Region 3 team were very impressed with our performance, ending their three year unbeaten run and they offered us an invitation to play them in America this summer as a result. From my point of view, the trip was a complete success, the facilities at the Amendoira Golf Resort in the Algarve was second to none and it allowed our girls to flourish in the competitive environment and get them focused for the elite qualifying phase in the Ukraine from April 10th - 15th.
Irish U19 manager, Susan Ronan also hailed the training camp a great success, "Obviously we are gearing up for an incredibly difficult elite qualifying phase in Sweden which includes England, Sweden and Turkey but the fact that we had the U17 squad training with us, it has given me plenty of food for thought and there will be a number of selection headaches for squad places before we head to Sweden at the end of March," she said.
"The overall training camp was ideal preparation for the qualifiers as the players were put through stringent training programmes involving tournament situation matches which focused on the condition of the players and the team structure. Despite being top seeds for the qualifiers, we have been pitted with last year's finalists, England and Sweden as well as Turkey and with only one place up for grabs, it is going to be incredibly difficult," she added.
Susan Ronan was given a massive boost with the return of highly rated striker, Amy Ryan who has returned to the fold following a four month injury lay-off. The sharp-shooter was on a rich vein of form for the U19's last season and even earned a call-up to Noel King's senior squad for the EURO 2009 qualifiers.
Despite being top seeds for the draw following a 100% record in the competition so far, Susan Ronan's side will face two of last year's finalists, Sweden and England along with Turkey in Group 1 which will be hosted in Sweden from March 27th - April 1st.
Only the six group winners and one runner-up with the best record against the sides first and third in their pool will join hosts FYR Macedonia in the finals from 24 May until 5 June 2010.
Noel King's U17 side will travel to Ukraine for the elite qualifying phase which pits them against the Ukraine, Poland and Sweden with only the group winner advancing to the finals in UEFA's Swiss home of Nyon from June 22nd - 26th 2010.
The top three finishers at the final tournament will qualify for the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago from 5 to 25 September 2010.
Republic of Ireland U19 squad
Niamh Reid Burke - Raheny Utd.
Kiev Dollard - Portlaoise AFC
Becky Walsh - Salthill Devon FC
Zoe Murphy - Ballincollig FC
Niamh Kearney - Unattached
Megan Campbell - St. Francis FC
Niamh Nolan - St. Francis FC
Kate Flood - Dundalk WFC
Julie Ann Russell - Salthill Devon FC
Karen Duggan - Piltown Utd. FC
Ciara Grant - Kilmacrennan Celtic FC
Ciara O'Brien - Tramore AFC
Aine McKeever - Killea FC
Lois Roche - Arsenal FC
Michelle O'Reilly - St. Francis FC
Cherelle Khassal - Benfica FC
Shelby Murphy - Slammers FC
Lillie Billson - Arsenal FC
Zoe Doherty - Carndonagh FC
Amy Ryan - Unattached
Dora Gorman - Salthill Devon
Stephanie Murphy - Ballincollig FC
Republic of Ireland U17 squad
Jessica Gleeson - Tramore FC
Grace Moloney - Reading FC
Harriet Scott - Reading FC
Aileen Gilroy - Killala FC
Jennifer Byrne - Bealnamulla FC
Niamh McLaughlin - Greencastle FC
Stacie Jayne Donnelly - Reading FC
Emily Cahill - St. Joseph's FC
Rianna Jarrett - North End Utd.
Denise O'Sullivan - Wilton Utd.
Zoe Boyd - Montclair Thunderbolts
Kerry Glynn - Montclair Thunderbolts
Alexa Yow - Connecticut FC
Shauna Newman - St. Francis
Chloe Mustaki - St. Joseph's FC
Katie McCabe - St. Joseph's FC
Clare Shine - Douglas Hall FC
Rebecca Kearney - Lakewood Athletic FC
Niamh Walsh - Raheny Utd.
Amanda Budden - Wilton Utd.
Niamh Mailey - Raphoe Town FC
Siobhan Killeen - Raheny Utd.