- Republic of Ireland sit down joint-top in their France 2019 qualifying segment
- In November, they ended the Netherlands’ 11-game profitable streak
- Karen Duggan, the crew’s participant of the 12 months, speaks to FIFA.com
“I don’t know if I could even put it into words.”
Karen Duggan smiles, as she ponders the query of what a primary main event would imply to Republic of Ireland’s ladies. “That is something we’ve all been working towards since we’ve been able to kick a football,” she advised FIFA.com. “All I can tell you is that when the final whistle blew against Holland, that was one of the best moments of my life. And that was just one game. So to qualify for a major tournament, I can only imagine how good it would feel.”
‘Just one game’ it is going to were, however that tournament in the Netherlands – a surprise Zero-Zero draw that ended the European champions’ 11-match profitable run – carried wider importance. It showed that the Irish, who’re thriving underneath Colin Bell – a former UEFA Women’s Champions League winner, and their first full-time trainer – might be a drive to be reckoned with in FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying. With 3 fits performed, they’re unbeaten and sit down perched along the Netherlands at the summit of Group three.
“When you look at big Irish sporting moments in 2017, I think that should figure really highly,” Duggan stated of the attract Nijmegen. “A large number of paintings went into analysing the Dutch in the build-up and bobbing up with the proper recreation plan, and Colin were given everybody believing in the method we must way issues.
What a 12 months for #IRLWNT in qualification as they sit down joint height of the staff following an incredible draw at the house of the European Champions! #YearInEvaluation #COYGIG %.twitter.com/mk9jX1IaAB
— FAIreland ⚽️ (@FAIreland) December 31, 2017
“I’d say this is the strongest the team has ever been,” Duggan added. “It just seems that things are clicking now. Obviously, Colin coming as our first full-time manager has given us a boost, and he’s brought fantastic experience to the job. Also, the young players who enjoyed success at youth level are now coming of age and becoming mainstays.”
Duggan is filled with reward for Bell, the England-born trainer who carved out a stellar profession in Germany and advised FIFA.com ultimate 12 months of his need to make a direct have an effect on. “He is the ultimate professional,” stated the UCD Waves megastar. “For us players, it’s about living up to his standards.”
Despite their fantastic get started, the Irish stay outsiders in a bit that incorporates no longer best the European champions, however Norway – Women’s World Cup regulars and considered one of simply 4 countries to raise the trophy. But if they want inspiration on defy the odds, they want best glance to Duggan. The 26-year-old application participant is, finally, her nation’s reigning Women’s International Player of the Year, and has completed this standing, regardless of turning her again on skilled contracts and out of the country strikes.
- Should I keep or must I am going?
While team-mates moved out of the country to the English, German, and American height flights, Duggan stayed put with Irish aspect UCD Waves
“I like taking part in in Ireland and really feel a dedication to the Women’s National League. I additionally paintings for a control consultancy company and have ambitions there after I hold up my boots. I take advantage of my lunch breaks as coaching alternatives and educate with my membership in the evenings. There is most definitely extra self-discipline concerned – you want to visit the health club your self, moderately than it being organised for you – however that’s the same old I do know I want to achieve to proceed taking part in with the skilled ladies on the crew. It’s a problem I experience.”
- Football or Camogie?
Duggan gave up Camogie, the conventional Irish stick-and-ball recreation by which she gained nationwide titles, to pursue her soccer goals
“I clung on to playing Camogie for as long as I could. But in order to reach the levels we need to under Colin, there’s a need to dedicate yourself 100 per cent to football. And football has always been my top priority. It offers opportunities and experiences that other sports just can’t.”
Duggan and her team-mates will tackle Portugal on Thursday in the first a part of a pleasant double-header, as arrangements start for the resumption of Women’s World Cup qualifying in April.
“After the Holland game, we’ve all been raring to get back together again because we want to keep the momentum going,” she concluded. “We know that there is a major tournament in this team. Everyone realises there is a long way to go before we can start thinking of the World Cup. But we’ll keep plugging away and keep dreaming.”
New Year, new requirements….
— FAIreland ⚽️ (@FAIreland) January 16, 2018