WU19s off to Poland to compete in Euro qualifiers

The Northern Ireland women’s U19 team will be in Poland next week to compete in the first stage of UEFA WU19 Euro 2023 qualifiers.

They were drawn in Group A5 alongside France, the Republic of Ireland and hosts Poland.

The four-team mini-tournament begins on Tuesday (4 October) when Northern Ireland take on France at the Swarzedz Stadium in Swarzedz, a town in west-central Poland. The game will kick off at 10am UK time.

In game two on the same day, Poland meets Republic at Plewiska Stadium in Plewiska, a small town near Poznan in west-central Poland.

Northern Ireland’s second game is next Friday against the Republic. Swarzedz Stadium will again be the venue and it is scheduled to start at 10am UK time.

And the last match of WU19 in A5 will take place on Monday 10 October at Plewiska Stadium against Poland. Kick-off is at 1pm UK time.

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Twenty players have been selected for the trip to Poland, including several who have been promoted from the women’s U17 team.

The WU19 squad features 13 changes from the group of 20, who advanced to League A from a League B mini-tournament as part of the 2021-22 competition played in Northern Ireland in April.

Many of the players who were accepted back in the spring are now too old to compete at U19 level.

However, the Lisburn Rangers women’s quartet Helen Parker, Ella Haughey, Eve Reilly and Ellie-Mae Dickson are still in attendance, along with Jane McMaster (Linfield Ladies), Cliftonville Ladies winger Erin Montgomery and Reds midfielder Grace McKimm. the senior team faced the World Cup qualifiers against Luxembourg and Latvia earlier this month.

Eight players have been promoted from WU17, who were promoted to League A for their qualifiers at the end of next month by winning a mini-tournament in Israel in March.

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The eight include Linfield Ladies Quartet Erin McAllister, Rhyleigh Marks, Keri Halliday and Emily Reid, Sion Swifts Ladies pair Naomi McLaughlin and Aoibhe O’Neill, and Sarah Tweedie (Glentoran Women) and Mikayla Wildgoose (Birmingham City Women).

Goalkeeper Rachael Norney (Cliftonville Ladies) was injured in the WU19 qualifiers in April but has now returned to the ranks, while Glentoran Women defender Rebecca Magee previously played for WU17. Aimee Neal (Sion Swifts Ladies) was called up to a WU19 squad last year but was forced to retire due to injury.

Midfielders Maeve McConaghy (Glentoran Women) and Molly Loughran (Lisburn Rangers Ladies) have been called up to the Northern Ireland line-up for the first time.

In the 2022-23 WU19 competition, the team that finishes fourth in each of the seven groups in League A is relegated to League B for the second round. The teams remaining in League A and seven teams promoted from League B will be battling for places at next summer’s UEFA WU19 Euro tournament in Belgium next spring.

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Northern Ireland WU19 squad for Euro qualifiers in Poland:

Goalies – Rachael Norney (Cliftonville Ladies), Erin McAllister (Linfield Ladies).

Defenders – Sarah Tweedie and Rebecca Magee (both Glentoran women), Jane McMaster (Linfield women), Aimee Neal (Sion Swifts women), Mikayla Wildgoose (Birmingham City women), Ella Haughey (Lisburn Rangers women).

Midfielders – Helen Parker and Molly Loughran (both Lisburn Rangers Ladies), Maeve McConaghy (Glentoran Women), Aoibhe O’Neill (Sion Swifts Ladies), Grace McKimm (Cliftonville Ladies), Rhyleigh Marks (Linfield Ladies).

Forwards – Keri Halliday and Emily Reid (both Linfield Ladies), Eve Reilly and Ellie-Mae Dickson (both Lisburn Rangers Ladies), Naomi McLaughlin (Sion Swifts Ladies), Erin Montgomery (Cliftonville Ladies).