Ireland’s U19’s among top seeds for UEFA European Women’s Championship Qualifiers

The Republic of Ireland U19 Women’s team will be among the six top seeds when the draw for the second qualifying round of the UEFA European Women’s U19 Championship takes place on November 20 at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

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Last month, Ireland topped Group 1 with wins over hosts Serbia, Cyprus and Latvia and their 100 per cent record, coupled with a goal difference of plus 15, was enough to ensure that they will be in Pot A along with Germany, France, England, Finland and Denmark.

The second qualifying round will take place from April 4 to 9, 2013, and the six group winners plus the best runner-up will qualify for the final round which will take place in Wales from August 19 to 31.

The seedings for the U19 draw are as follows:
Pot A: Germany, France, England, Finland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland
Pot B: Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Ukraine
Pot C: Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Scotland
Pot D: Iceland, Hungary, Austria, Netherlands, Russia, Greece.

The Republic of Ireland U17 Women’s team qualified for the second round of the UEFA European U17 Women’s Championship and they will be second seeds when the draw for the second qualifying round takes place on November 20.

They qualified for the Second Qualifying Round by winning all three matches in a group that contained Finland, Belarus and Georgia but they missed on being a top seed on goal difference.

The second qualifying round in the U17 competition must be played by mid-April 2013 and the four group winners will qualify for the final round which will take place in Nyon from June 25 to 28.

The seedings for the U17 draw are as follows:
Pot A: Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Norway.
Pot B: Spain, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic.
Pot C: Sweden, Austria, Germany, Northern Ireland.
Pot D: Belgium, Finland, Italy, Poland.

In both competitions the teams drawn in each group must meet immediately after the draw to determine who will host the group and, in the case of the U17 tournament, the dates the games will be played. As the U19s have already played Serbia and the U17s have met Finland, they cannot be drawn against those teams in the next round.

Both the U19 and U17 Women’s teams are managed by Dave Connell and he admitted that he was very happy with the seedings.

“It’s nice to be among the top seeds in the U19 competition and avoid the likes Germany, France, and England but there are still some very good teams in the other pots so a lot will depend on the luck of the draw,” said Connell.

“The same applies to the U17s who are second seeds. The best thing about it is that both our teams have come out of the first round with 100 per cent records and when you consider the resources and finance at the disposal of some of the other countries it shows that we are holding our own.”

The Men’s U17 and U19 teams have also qualified for the Elite Round of their respective competitions but as other groups are still to be completed their seedings have not yet been announced. The men’s draws will take place on December 5 in Nyon.

In other news
Republic of Ireland Women’s Senior International manager Sue Ronan has named an 18 strong squad to travel to America on November 25 to play Olympic champions USA in two friendly fixtures as part of the USA Women’s Fans Tribute Tour.

The squad is a mixture of youth and experience and features five players with less than ten caps as well as four with over 45 caps. Goalkeeper Emma Byrne is the squad’s most experienced player with 91 caps while Raheny United midfielder Ciara Grant has yet to play for the senior side.

Uncapped Grant was part of the Republic of Ireland U17 team which reached the FIFA U17 World Cup quarter-finals in 2010 and finished runners-up to Spain in the European U17 Championships the same year.

She is one of five players in the squad who play for clubs in the Bus Eireann National Women’s League and another is current U19 international team captain Denise O’Sullivan of Cork Women’s FC.

Speaking about the trip , Ronan said: “This trip presents a fantastic opportunity for the squad. It’s not often that you get to go up against the world number one seeds, but it’s an experience that each player will relish. The players are not fazed by their opposition one bit, and I’m confident that they can pull together and give two strong performances.’

“Obviously we were disappointed with how we finished in our Euro 2013 qualifying group. I don’t think second place was very far from our reach. However, with the World Cup Campaign just around the corner I’m confident that we can re-group and strive towards qualification. These two games are ideal opportunities for the players to pick up experience against some top class opponents.”

The squad will join up in Dublin on November 25 to travel to the USA. They will play their first fixture in JELD-WEN Field Portland on Wednesday, November 28, at 7pm (local time), with their second game taking place in University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale on Saturday, December 1, at 7.30pm (local time).

Republic of Ireland Squad: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Eve Badana (Drexel College), Yvonne Tracy (Arsenal), Louise Quinn (Peamount United), Megan Campbell (Raheny United), Sophie Perry (Chelsea), Mary Therese McDonnell (Chicago Red Stars), Meabh de Burca (Amazon Grimstad), Shannon McDonnell (Unattached), Diane Caldwell (Avaldsnes), Niamh Fahey (Arsenal), Ciara Grant (Raheny United), Julie Ann Russell (Peamount United), Aine O’Gorman (Doncaster Belles), Ruesha Littlejohn (Glasgow City), Shannon Smyth (Amazon Grimstad), Fiona O’Sullivan (SC Freiburg), Denise O’Sullivan (Cork Women’s FC).


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