World Cup Qualifier Preview: Northern Ireland Women -v- Republic of Ireland Women

Tue, Sep 19 2017

Katie McCabe will lead her country for the first time since assuming the captaincy from the retired Emma Byrne. Credit: Laszlo Geczo


Northern Ireland will look to bounce back from a heavy opening-day defeat in Norway as they welcome their closest neighbours to Mourneview Park (kick-off 7.30pm, live on BBC Red Button).


Alfie Wylie's side were comfortably beaten 4-1 by the top seeds in Fredrikstad, with Carah Milligan's last-minute goal a mere consolation for the North.


Northern Ireland are bottom seeds in the group but will have targeted this, their first home game and a local derby, as arguably their best chance of getting a win.


The majority of Wylie's side are based in Northern Ireland, with the likes of Everton's Simone Magill and Reading's Rachel Furness the exception rather than the rule.


“The 4-1 scoreline (against Norway) did not reflect the game,” Wylie told the association's website.


“Although Norway had more opportunities, we managed the game poorly by conceding goals in the last seconds of added time in both halves.


“But we now have the opportunity to put that setback behind us and to immediately learn from those errors and lapses in concentration.


“This game is a chance for the players to show what they can do against arguably our biggest rivals.”


Goalkeeper Lauren Perry is a doubt after picking up a knock in the defeat to Norway and could be replaced by Emma Higgins, while Simon Magill is also doubtful.


Cathy Hyndman has left the squad after being injured against Norway, but her Sion Swifts clubmate Kendra McMullan returns after missing the trip with illness.




The Republic of Ireland open their World Cup qualifying campaign with a must-win game away to bottom seeds Northern Ireland.


After the better part of a year in charge, Colin Bell will take charge of a competitive fixture for the first time since replacing Sue Ronan as senior manager.


That's not the only change, as Glasgow City's Katie McCabe will lead the side for the first time after being named captain following the retirement of Emma Byrne.


"It's a huge occasion and there is a real buzz in the squad ahead of the game,” McCabe told the FAI's official website.


“We've had an excellent camp and trained really well. Everyone is fresh and raring to go.


"It's always exciting at the start of a new campaign and you can tell everyone is really up for it, and obviously, it's a great way to start a new campaign.


"The new players have come into the squad and slotted in really well. The standard has been really high out there so we really just want to get going now.”


While McCabe is mindful of the derby nature of the game, she's careful to stress that it's a game Ireland must win if they are to mount a serious campaign.


"There has been a lot of hype about the game ever since we were drawn against each other but we need to put all that to the back of our minds.


"It's going to be a tough game but it's important we focus on ourselves and what we can do as we've shown we can play some excellent football this year.


"It's going to be a really proud moment to lead the team out and all my family will be here to watch. You'll probably hear them screaming! But it is special, and it's something you always dream about.


"The result is all that matters though, it's going to be a big three points to get away from home and we need to focus on getting that first win of the campaign over the line."


Wexford Youths striker Claire O'Riordan has been called up to the squad as Peamount United's Heather Payne has emerged as an injury doubt with a calf strain.


Referee: Vesna Budimir (Croatia)




The Republic of Ireland have played seven matches under Colin Bell, including four at the semi-competitive Cyprus Cup.


In that time, Ireland have won three, lost two and drawn two, conceding just three goals in the process.


Northern Ireland have played nine games so far in 2017, winning twice, losing five and drawing twice.




Northern Ireland 7/2; Draw 3/1; Republic of Ireland 8/15.



Northern Ireland 0 – 1 Republic of Ireland



Northern Ireland

Injured: Cathy Hyndman.

Doubtful: Simone Magill, Lauren Perry.

Suspended: None.


Republic of Ireland

Injured: None.

Doubtful: Heather Payne.

Suspended: None.