Ireland can’t afford any slip-up against Slovakia

Victory would keep hopes high in advance of the Netherlands’ visit next Tuesday

Tyler Toland: will miss the visit of Slovakia after fracturing her wrist in training.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Tyler Toland: will miss the visit of Slovakia after fracturing her wrist in training. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Women’s 2019 World Cup qualifier
Republic of Ireland v Slovakia, Tallaght Stadium (5pm)

The Republic of Ireland women’s team face a different type of pressure this evening when they must overcome basement side Slovakia at Tallaght Stadium to remain on track for World Cup qualification next year.

Two wins, including a 2-0 victory over today’s opponents, added to by a memorable draw away to the Netherlands, have put Ireland in a commanding position to at least claim a play-off for the tournament in France.

Much attention this week has focussed on the visit of the European champions, the Netherlands, to Tallaght next Tuesday but Colin Bell’s side cannot afford any slip-up against a Slovakian side without a point from their four games.

Tyler Toland yesterday became the latest likely to starter to be ruled out after the teenage midfielder fractured her wrist in training. She joins Stephanie Roche, Megan Campbell and Player of the Year Harriet Scott on the unavailable list but American-based midfielder Megan Connolly, whose academic commitments ruled her out of the first three games, should go straight into the team.

“I love a bit of pressure, especially playing at my local stadium,” beamed Ireland captain Katie McCabe, hailing from nearby Kilnamanagh.

“As the home team, with our fans right behind us, we’ll be confident of keeping our run going with the win.”

REP OF IRELAND (probable): M Hourihan (Manchester City); S Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion), L Quinn (Arsenal), D Caldwell (SC Sand), K Duggan (Peamount Utd); N Fahey (Bordeaux), M Connolly (Florida State); L Kiernan (Shelbourne), D O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), K McCabe (Arsenal); A Barrett (Peamount Utd).

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