Republic of Ireland’s Denise O’Sullivan has said the rapid progression of the Bus Éireann FAI WNL is perfectly illustrated by the presence of seven players in Sue Ronan’s squad for their final games in the Uefa Women’s Euro 2013 Group 4 Qualifiers away to France and Israel.
The senior international joined up with Ronan’s squad on Wednesday afternoon ready to embark on a trip to France where they will play their penultimate group match in Roudourou Stadium, Guingamp this Saturday (kick-off 7.50pm Irish time).
However, back-to-back losses last June against Wales and Scotland at Turner’s Cross unfortunately ended any hopes Ireland had of capturing an October play-off spot in their quest for a place at the finals in Sweden next July.
Peamount United’s Louise Quinn, Julie-Ann Russell, Stephanie Roche and Sara Lawlor as well as Megan Campbell and current top national league scorer with four goals Rebecca Creagh, both of Raheny United, were also selected by Ronan for the double-header, however and the Cork Women’s FC striker believes that level of
WNL representation is hugely positive even if the campaign itself has been disappointing.
“The quality of the WNL is extremely high and playing in it definitely improves players’ games,” O’Sullivan said. “Being in Sue’s squad for these two matches gives us involved in the WNL another opportunity to show our worth to the senior international set-up.
“The WNL, though the second season has only begun, is progressing quickly and having seven players from the domestic league in this squad is a good indicator of how important it is to the continued development of women’s soccer in Ireland.”
However, it is hard to get away from the fact Ireland, despite the talent pool Ronan has to choose from, are unfortunately without a chance of advancing.
And O’Sullivan admitted that everybody involved was particularly frustrated with how their two previous outings against Wales and Scotland transpired.
“Our last two fixtures were massively important and so to get nothing from either game to leave us with no chance of qualification was very frustrating for the group.
“We had a chance to cement second spot with two home games and didn’t take it so that was a big opportunity we let slip by, especially when we should have beaten Wales,” she said.
O’Sullivan has insisted the squad are nevertheless determined to end the ultimately fruitless campaign on a positive note, however.
“Even though we can’t qualify everybody is really motivated to try and win both games but realistically it is going to be difficult against France.
“When we met them at Turner’s Cross we had to defend for most of the match and with France having to win to guarantee top spot before they play Scotland away it makes things even harder for us.
“But we are all prepared to give 100% in both games and we would be confident of beating Israel in the last game by a couple of goals too with a bit of luck,” she opined.
Peter McNamara is a freelance sports journalist that works predominately for the Evening Echo in Cork covering mostly soccer and GAA at all levels. Peter writes extensively on the topics of Gaelic football and hurling for the newspaper. He is the former sports editor of local radio station 93.1 Life FM where he produced and co-presented the live Sporting Life show every Monday and Friday which stills run today. As well as that, Peter has worked as a sub-editor for the Evening Echo and has been working in the media industry for over four years now. You can contact him via e-mail at email@example.com, on facebook or follow him on Twitter @petermcnemo07