The television times for the World Cup playoffs are in. If Austria beat Scotland at Hampden Park, Ireland must travel to St Pölten, an hour’s drive west of Vienna, for a 6pm kick-off at the NV Arena on October 11th.
If the result swings the other way, Glasgow will host a double-header of women’s international football at Hampden and the Champions League match between Celtic and Red Bull Leipzig at Celtic Park. Both matches kick-off at 8pm with Irish fans already facing spiralling flight costs.
When asked about the potential fixture clash, as Celtic Park is just three miles from Hampden Park, Uefa said the October dates were decided by Fifa last year and the “home association is responsible for choosing the kick-off time, where factors such as the respective broadcast partners of the home association are taken into account.”
As a result, if Scotland win, RTÉ2 are expected to show Copenhagen versus Manchester City at 5.45pm before switching to live coverage of Ireland v Scotland. If Austria win, RTÉ have a tiny window to switch from the Austria game to Celtic v RB Leipzig or Milan v Chelsea, with post-match analysis done after the men’s match.
“I’m on the fence to be honest,” replied Ireland defender Áine O’Gorman when asked to pick an opponent. “Austria are quite well organised, Scotland are very direct. Both have major tournament experience as well. We’re just going to have to prepare the best we can ang go out and play the game of our lives and hopefully make the World Cup.”
The Irish squad are using media interactions this week to raise awareness and increase funding for breast cancer research.
“It is so important that all women are fully aware of the need to be educated about breast cancer and to ensure that they are going for regular checks in order to tackle it,” said Ireland captain Katie McCabe. “All of the players and staff involved with the Ireland women’s national team are passionate about raising awareness of breast cancer because it is something that affects so many women.
“We would like to encourage all women from the age of 20 upwards to learn all about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer by downloading Breast Cancer Ireland’s Breast Aware app and not being afraid to go for a check-up.”