With the bulk of her squad in action on foreign shores over the weekend, ahead of reporting for international duty on Tuesday, Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw would have had a nervous time of it waiting to see if they came through their games unscathed. That World Cup play-off, against Scotland or Austria, is, after all, only nine days away.
Having already lost Liverpool’s Leanne Kiernan to injury, she could have done without hearing that fellow forward (although she continues to play at right-back for her club) Amber Barrett went off injured just 22 minutes in to Turbine Potsdam’s Bundesliga defeat on Saturday to her former club Koln.
Pauw will also hope that Megan Campbell’s withdrawal at half-time in Liverpool’s League Cup win away to Sunderland was no more than precautionary, the left-back having scored the game’s only goal from a free-kick at the edge of the box.
There was more positive news from Birmingham where four of her squad were involved in the 3-2 League Cup win over Brighton, for whom Megan Walsh was in goal. Harriet Scott and Jamie Finn provided the assists for their first two goals, before Lucy Quinn got the third for the Louise Quinn-captained side. Eleanor Ryan-Doyle came on as a late sub for Birmingham, bringing their Irish representation on the day to five.
Chloe Mustaki got herself on the scoresheet for Bristol City in their 4-0 League Cup win over Crystal Palace, but London City Lionesses’ Lily Agg and Hayley Nolan were on the wrong end of an epic 10-9 penalty shoot-out defeat by West Ham, for whom Jess Ziu and Izzy Atkinson played the opening 58 minutes.
Reading were also beaten, 2-1 at home to Spurs, although Diane Caldwell at least got 90 minutes under her belt after only playing 45 for her new club since the start of the season.
Saoirse Noonan came on for the last 10 minutes of Durham’s 3-3 draw with Sheffield United, but chipped in with a penalty in their 5-3 shoot-out win, former Peamount United goalkeeper Naoisha McAloon making the decisive save.
Both Katie McCabe and Courtney Brosnan were able to put their feet up over the weekend, neither Arsenal nor Everton in action. McCabe played in Wednesday’s win away to Ajax which put Arsenal through to the group stages of the Champions League, but Brosnan lost her Everton place on Thursday, England under-23 international Emily Ramsey keeping a clean sheet on her Super League debut in the win at home to Leicester.
In Scotland, Claire O’Riordan and Ciara Grant had mixed fortunes, O’Riordan’s Celtic beating Partick Thistle in the Premier League Cup, Grant’s Hearts losing in a penalty shoot-out to Spartans.
On the continent, Kyra Carusa captained HB Hoge to yet another win, this time over Sundby, to stay top of the Danish league, but Niamh Farrelly was subbed off in Parma’s 5-0 Serie A defeat by Roma.
Over in the United States, Heather Payne’s penalty against Miami gave Florida State their seventh win in a row while, also in college football, Roma McLaughlin was on the winning side when Central Connecticut beat St Francis Brooklyn - as was Zoe McGlynn, another Donegal native. In the NWSL, though, Denise O’Sullivan had a more frustrating time of it when North Carolina Courage were held to a 0-0 draw by San Diego Wave, the first time Courage had failed to score in 14 games.