Ronan ready for Croatia test

Ronan ready for Croatia test

Republic of Women's National Team manager Sue Ronan says her side are ready for their next test in the FIFA Women's World Cup against Croatia in Sinj tomorrow (2.30pm Irish time).
25th Sep 2013

Republic of Women's National Team manager Sue Ronan says her side are ready for their next test in the FIFA Women's World Cup against Croatia in Sinj tomorrow (2.30pm Irish time).

The squad trained this afternoon at the Gradski Stadium where tomorrow's match will be played but Ronan will not name her team until just before kick-off in order to give striker Fiona O'Sullivan and defender Megan Campbell every chance of being fit for the game

O'Sullivan twisted her ankle during training on Tuesday while Campbell sustained a shin injury during Sunday's 2-0 victory over Slovakia in Bray.

Ronan has set her side a target of three wins from their opening three games in Group 1 and having achieved the first of those victories last Sunday, she has asked her team to build on that tomorrow.

"It was good to get the win against Slovakia, especially as it was our first game in the group and in front of our home fans, so it has given the girls' confidence. It was also nice to keep a clean sheet and indeed score two very good goals," said Ronan.

"But we're under no illusions, tomorrow's game is not going to be easy and, despite our record against them, Croatia are a very good team who I'm sure will also be looking to get off to a good start in their first game.

"However my players are all focussed and looking sharp in training, which makes it difficult to select the starting X1, but that's a good complaint to have! So I'm looking for another good performance and hopefully three more points," added Ronan.

This will be the fifth meeting between Ireland and Croatia and the Irish are unbeaten having won three and drawn one of the previous scoring encounters, the last of which was an 8-1 victory in 2004 in a European Championship qualifier.

One player certain of being in the starting line-up tomorrow is goalkeeper and captain Emma Byrne who will win her 100 cap and become only the second woman and seventh player to reach a century of senior appearances for Ireland.

Ronan, who played alongside Byrne when she was starting her international career, paid tribute to the Arsenal who follows her great friend and clubmate Ciara Grant into the Century Club.

"To reach 100 caps is a fantastic achievement and her vast experience at international level, plus the fact that she has won every honour in the game with her club Arsenal, makes her a true role model for all the other players," said Ronan.

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).

Head to head v Croatia
10-04-04 Euro Championship Republic of Ireland 8 Croatia 1 W
25-05-03 Euro Championship Croatia 0 Republic of Ireland 0 D
06-05-00 Euro Championship Croatia 1 Republic of Ireland 3 W
30-10-99 Euro Championship Republic of Ireland 2 Croatia 0 W