Hourihan In Ireland Squad For Italy Game

Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team Head Coach Colin Bell has described his team’s fixture against Italy next week as a challenge against one of Europe’s top teams.

“The initial squad I picked had Emily Kraft in it” explained Colin Bell, “but obviously she’s out with the ACL now, so Zara Foley’s comes back in to the frame to replace Emily after doing very well with the Under-17s in Scotland.”

“Heather Payne is not in the squad because she’ll be strengthening the Under-19s playing in the Elite Round, otherwise Heather would definitely have been included, as she’s now a regular starter in the team.

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“We’ve got Rianna Jarrett coming in to replace Heather, not in the same position, but as another player” added Bell.

“It’s good to have Rianna coming back in, she’s in good form for Wexford, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing how she’s recovered after a long injury, and to looking at her fitness and just to get her back into the frame.”

“I’m hoping for a really good test against Italy, they’re a really strong side so we are total outsiders in this one. But we want to compete against the best teams” explained Bell.

“We beat Wales in the last camp, they are a second seed in the Euros now we’re aiming to see if we can beat a first-seed team because we have Germany in our group, so we need to be comparing ourselves and battling against these kind of nations to be really prepared for the next campaign,” added Bell.

“Everything now needs to be really focused. In the last camp we could really tell that now that the draw had been made everybody was really programmed and focused and there was a really good buzz around the place, so we want to continue with that and build from that, keep the momentum going.

“All the energy that we have will now just be focused on this Euro campaign.“

“We need competition for places, it can’t be a given that certain players are nominated all the time. Are they performing well enough, is their form good, are they playing for their clubs? But when we have a full squad, I think we have a very good side.”

Republic of Ireland squad v Italy

Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (Brighton and Hove Albion), Grace Maloney (Reading)

Defenders: Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Diane Caldwell SC Sand), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Megan Campbell (Manchester City), Zara Foley (Cork City), Eabha O’Mahoney (Cork City)

Midfielders: Tyler Toland (Kildrum Tigers), Megan Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne), Niamh Farrelly (Peamount)

Forwards: Amber Barrett (Peamount Uinted), Leanne Kiernan (West Ham United), Emily Whelan (Shelbourne), Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Rianna Jarrett (Wexford Youths)

Fixtures – International Friendly

09/04: Italy v Republic of Ireland, Mapei Stadium, Reggio Emilia, 18:30 (17:30 Irish time)