Kearns hoping WU19s finish on a high


Kearns hoping WU19s finish on a high

A place at this summer's UEFA Women's Under 19 European Championships is still within reach for the Republic of Ireland and they will be doing all they can to grasp it.
9th Apr 2016

Dave Connell's side sit on three points in Group 1 following a narrow defeat to leaders Germany and a resounding 3-0 triumph over Azerbaijan. So it's all to play for in Sunday's final Elite Phase qualifier against Poland in Tallaght Stadium at 2pm.

As ever with a Connell team, there is a quiet confidence amongst the group as they dare not to boast about something they have not yet earned. This is a group that wants to work for each other and that has been evident in their two performances thus far.

It is something that Rachel Kearns noticed straight away after being drafted in as a newcomer to a squad packed with 13 players who have already featured at a European Championship finals.

"We want to get the win in our final game against Poland," stated Kearns, who came on as a substitute against both Germany and Azerbaijan.

"We can take a lot of positives from our first two games, particularly the win [over Azerbaijan], and we know that nothing less than a win keeps us in the hunt for the best runners-up spot."

With Germany leading the group on six points, Ireland need them to slip up against Azerbaijan and to overcome Poland themselves to top the group. Otherwise, they require some luck in finishing as the best-placed runner-up overall.

Luck is actually something that Kearns feels had always evaded her with regard to international football - until she finally made the breakthrough into Connell's squad for these Elite Phase qualifiers.

The Mayo native has more than proved her place though as a direct attacker who combines physicality with an eye for goal. Not that she is taking anything for granted.

"It was hard to get into this squad because they have been with each other through the ranks and they have done brilliantly, but I just had to keep on going," explained Kearns.

"It is a great group to be involved in and I just have to keep on working hard to try to get into the team. But we play as a team and everyone wants the team to win first and foremost."

Winning is a habit that has been adopted by Connell's teams in recent years so they know exactly what is required against Poland on Sunday afternoon.

Tickets for Sunday's game can be bought at Tallaght Stadium, priced €5 for adults and €2 for children.

Republic of Ireland v Poland, Sunday, April 10, Tallaght Stadium, KO 2pm

*Please note that the other game in Group 1 between Germany and Azerbaijan has been moved from Richmond Park to Tolka Park, kicking off at 2pm.