By JOHN HUDSON
Dave Connell is relishing the opportunity of taking charge of the Ireland women’s side at the World University Games in Italy next month.
The Republic of Ireland Women’s under 19 head coach has been appointed to a similar role with the Ireland student squad and he is busy preparing ahead of testing fixtures against Brazil and Republic of Korea when this prestigious bi annual student championship begins on July 2 in the Naples area of Southern Italy.
Ireland face a big challenge in their opening game when they take on the formidable Brazil the previous winners in Chinese Taipei two years ago.
While the Republic of Korea are their next opponents as Connell’s side bid for a top two finish in the three team group that guarantees them a place in the quarter finals of the 12 team tournament.
The experienced Connell is well aware of the challenges the side will face but he has great faith in the squad he has named.
“It is a terrific opportunity for our players to test themselves against the best of the world. We have an abundance of underage international experience in the squad and some have already broken into the senior team. We’re under no illusions that we will face two proven teams at this level in the group stage however our aim is to qualify from the group and make the quarter final stage and after that who knows what we can achieve” explained Connell.
Ireland finished 10th at the 2017 games and the squad for Naples contains six survivors from two years ago including Cork City captain Ciara McNamara who lifted the FAI Women’s Senior Cup just weeks after returning from the Far East
Connell has also added experience from the Senior International team with Aislinn Meaney, Niamh Farrelly and Amber Barrett selected along with a number of current under 19 internationals.
The squad will complete their preparations for the tournament with a training camp in the University of Limerick later in the month before departing for Italy with the men’s squad on Saturday June 29.
Ireland Women’s Squad
Goalkeepers: Amanda McQuillan (IT Carlow/Shelbourne Ladies FC), Naoisha McAloon (TU Dublin/Peamount United).
Defenders: Chloe Mustaki (UCD/Shelbourne Ladies FC), Ciara McNamara (UCC/Cork City WFC), Jessica Gargan (Quinnipiac University/Shelbourne Ladies FC), Lauren Dwyer (IT Carlow/Wexford Youths WFC), Lynn Craven (DCU/Shelbourne Ladies FC), Sadhbh Doyle (NUI Galway/Galway WFC), Shauna Fox (NUI Galway/Galway WFC).
Midfielders: Ailbhe Clancy (DCU/Galway WFC) Aislinn Meaney (NUI Galway/Galway WFC), Eleanor Ryan-Doyle (TU Dublin/Peamount United), Gemma McGuinness (Ulster University/Greencastle FC), Megan Smyth-Lynch (IT Carlow/Peamount United), Niamh Farrelly (DCU/Peamount United), Tiegan Ruddy (Central Connecticut State University/ Central Connecticut Blue Devils FC), Zoe McGlynn (Letterkenny IT/Sion Swifts FC), Elle Rose O’Flaherty (NUI Galway/Galway WFC), Lauren Kelly (Maynooth University/Wexford Youths WFC)
Forwards: Amber Barrett (DCU/Peamount United).
Staff: David Connell (Head Coach), David Bell (Assistant Coach), Keith O’Halloran (Coach), Barbara Bermingham (Equipment Officer) Kathryn Fahy (Physiotherapist).
Tuesday July 2 – Ireland v Brazil, Stadio San Mauro, 9.0 o’c (8.0 o’c Irish Time)
Thursday July 4 – Republic of Korea v Ireland, Stadio San Francesco, 6.0 o’c (5.0 o’c Irish Time).