Littlejohn keen to keep good start going
The Republic of Ireland Women's National Team arrived in Croatia today with midfielder Ruesha Littlejohn stressing that the squad are keen to keep their good start to the FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign going.
The 23-year-old won her 13th cap in last Sunday's 2-0 win over Slovakia in Bray and says another three points from Thursday's game against Croatia in Sinj would represent a good week's work.
"It was important to beat Slovakia because it was our first game of the campaign and also a home game. It took us a while to get going but we certainly lifted it in the second half and when Julie Anne put us ahead with that cracking free kick we just pushed on.
"We've now got to build on that result and we are here looking for three points on Thursday," said Littlejohn.
Although born in Glasgow, Littlejohn qualifies for Ireland through her maternal grandparents who were born in Belfast but lived for some years in Donegal before moving to Scotland. She played for Scotland at U15 level but her Irish roots were discovered when she met the strong Irish contingent at Arsenal.
"I was at Arsenal on trial and when Emma Byrne, Yvonne Tracy, Niamh Fahey and Ciara Grant found out I was Irish and told the FAI coaches and it just happened from there. I've no regrets because I've enjoyed every minute of it since I joined up with the girls," said Littlejohn.
While Germany are the favourites to win Group 1 there was widespread surprise within the Irish camp at the 9-0 win the Germans had over second seeds Russia on Saturday and it emphasises just how tough Group 1 will be.
"It's a really tough group we've got," said Littlejohn. "We've got Germany and Russia and obviously Germany are up there with the best teams in the world. They are the current European champions, they are very good and their players are all very strong and athletic. It's the same with the Russians so it's going to be tough. We will be hoping to pick up points against the other teams and especially in our home matches where we will be looking to get three points."
Full-back Megan Campbell who sustained a shin injury against Slovakia sat out training this afternoon but is off the crutches and still has a chance of being involved on Thursday. The session was shortened because of the condition of the pitch but not before striker Fiona O'Sullivan went over on her ankle.
Karen Duggan, who was called in to replace the injured Seana Cooke, linked up with the squad last night in London prior to their early morning departure to Split where they will be based ahead of Thursday's game in nearby Sinj.
Republic of Ireland Women's National Team Squad: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Grace Moloney (Reading), Yvonne Tracy (Arsenal), Megan Campbell (Florida State University), Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion), Meadbh De Burca (Eskilstuna United), Diane Caldwell (Avaldsness), Julie Ann Russell (Peamount United), Ciara Grant (Peamount United), Karen Duggan (Peamount United), Rachel Graham (Raheny United), Shannon Smyth (Amazon Grimstad), Dora Gorman (Peamount United), Fiona O'Sullivan (SC Frieburg), Denise O'Sullivan (Glasgow City), Sara Lawlor (Peamount United), Ruesha Littlejohn (Glasgow City), Aine O'Gorman (Peamount United).