Ireland eye place in U-17 Women’s World Cup final
Thierry Henry may have denied Ireland the chance to shine at the World Cup in South Africa this summer but at the under-17 female equivalent in Trinidad and Tobago the Irish girls are injecting pride back into the nation.
It is the first time Ireland has qualified for a women’s World Cup finals. Earlier in the summer they were beaten finalists in the European Championships after overcoming the highly-rated Germans in the semi-finals thanks to a superb free-kick by Megan Flynn.
And it was Megan Campbell who struck twice during Ireland’s 3-0 demolition of African side Ghana in their final Group D match. A superb long-range effort from Aileen Gilroy sealed the Emerald Isle’s progression into the quarter-finals. Ireland will play Japan on Friday for a place in the semi-finals.
Ireland manager, Noel King, was suspended for the match and forced to watch from the stands. However, after the game King spoke in glowing terms about the industrious efforts of his squad.
“We scored some great goals tonight, but it was just the cap on the way we worked hard and fought for every ball. We did the little things right and I couldn’t be more pleased,” King said.
“I am very pleased and proud for our girls and we’re looking forward to playing Japan in the next game”, adding, “They topped a very difficult group with Spain and some other strong teams in it.”
Meanwhile, two-goal hero Campbell believes if Ireland can continue to produce the performances there is every chance they can reach the final. In particular, the Irish have become renowned for their ability to shoot from long distance and high pressure tactics.
“Long-range shooting comes naturally to this group of girls, and it’s a big part of what we do well,” said Campbell.
“We focus on it in practice to try to keep sharp and make it perfect. It’s hard to score goals in football so you have to get them however you can.
“It’s a big part of our game, pressing high up the field. We attack and defend as one and you saw how it worked out against Ghana.”