German-born striker Kraft and Cooke get first senior call-ups but Kiernan misses out on Belgium test

Tue, Jan 08 2019

The Irish squad pose together following their final World Cup qualifying win over Northern Ireland. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Ireland under-17 stars Emily Kraft and Rebecca Cooke have been called up to the senior Republic of Ireland side for the first time for a friendly against Belgium in Spain this month.

There is no room, however, for any members of Wexford Youths’ domestic treble-winning side, while West Ham United striker Leanne Kiernan is also ruled out with injury.

The Cavan striker missed out on her side’s London derby with Arsenal at the weekend which saw Katie McCabe start and Louise Quinn bench, and both have made the latest squad.

German-born Kraft, who qualifies through her Dubliner mother, and Cooke have both impressed with the Ireland under-17s.

Kraft scored four goals on her under-17 debut against Albania in October, while Emily Whelan and Jessica Ziu, who are also on the panel, also featured.

Peamount duo Niamh Farrelly and Amber Barrett, Cork City defender Eabha O’Mahony and Shels’ Isibeal Atkinson, complete the seven-strong Women’s National League contingent.

Megan Connolly returns to the squad following injury with a National Championship in her back pocket with Florida State University, while Tyler Toland and Harriett Scott also return.

"The first game of a new year always represents a great opportunity to build momentum in what is an important 12 months for the team," said manager Bell.

"We're delighted to welcome back Megan Connolly after winning the National Championship with Florida State University and she'll be a valuable asset for the team in the future.

"Harriet Scott and Tyler Toland also come back into the squad, which is a big boost for the squad ahead of what should be a difficult test against an excellent Belgium team.

"I've also decided to name Emily Kraft and Rebecca Cooke in the squad who did really well in our November training camp and another week with the team should really benefit their development.

"We want to test ourselves against the very best teams ahead of the start of the 2021 European Championships qualifying in September to make sure we're fully prepared to qualify for our first-ever major international tournament."