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29th Jun 2023

“I’ve broken dreams” – Vera Pauw on the hardest call of Ireland’s World Cup squad

Patrick McCarry

“It is, of course, devastating.”

Vera Pauw still looked shaken up as she met with reporters to discuss her World Cup squad selections, at the UCD Bowl, on Wednesday morning.

The Ireland players were all brought together and informed of the 23-woman squad that would travel to Australia for the World Cup, next month. With many in the room missing out on the final selection, there were plenty of emotions on show. Pauw admitted that tears had flowed.

While the likes of Ciara Grant, Claire O’Riordan and Izzy Atkinson were the borderline calls that did end up making the plane to Oz, some experienced campaigners missed out after being unable to prove their full fitness.

Aoife Mannion (Manchester United) missed out along with the Liverpool duo, Megan Campbell and Leanne Kiernan. “It’s just a time-frame,” said Vera Pauw of 47-cap stalwart Megan Campbell. “She just needs more time.” Campbell and her howitzer long throws will be dearly missed.

Vera Pauw on hardest call to make

Perhaps the toughest cut of all, for Vera Pauw, is a player that did make the three-woman panel of training reserves for Australia and New Zealand.

Jamie Finn, of Birmingham City, featured heavily in the World Cup qualifiers, including the playoff win over Scotland, but did not make the main squad.

“That was the hardest, yeah,” Vera Pauw told RTÉ after a big exhale.

“Believe me or not, but we had been talking about it until 1am. We said at 8am we would go through it again. We sleep on it, come back and go through every player again.”

Kiernan was also unlucky to miss out, according to the Ireland boss. She played 45 minutes in the friendly win over Zambia but it was not enough to prove she was fully fit and ready for the rigours of a World Cup campaign.

Ireland will take on France at Tallaght Stadium on July 6, before flying out to Brisbane, Australia the following day. Each player in that Ireland squad has been guaranteed a payment of €28,000, by Fifa, for appearing in the World Cup.

Ireland WNT Squad

Goalkeepers: Courtney Brosnan (Everton), Grace Moloney (Reading), Megan Walsh (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Defenders: Heather Payne (Florida State University), Áine O’Gorman (Shamrock Rovers), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Louise Quinn (Birmingham City), Diane Caldwell (Reading), Claire O’Riordan (Celtic), Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), Chloe Mustaki (Bristol City), Izzy Atkinson (West Ham United)

Midfielders: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Lily Agg (London City Lionesses), Ruesha Littlejohn (Aston Villa), Ciara Grant (Hearts), Sinead Farrelly (NJ/NY Gotham), Lucy Quinn (Birmingham City)

Forwards: Kyra Carusa (London City Lionesses), Amber Barrett (Standard Liege), Marissa Sheva (Washington Spirit), Abbie Larkin (Shamrock Rovers)

Training Players: Sophie Whitehouse, Harriet Scott, Jamie Finn