President's letter spurs Irish squad
AN Irish soccer team going for international glory today has been told by President Mary McAleese that "your success has lifted the spirits of all those back home who live for football and love to see Ireland do well on the world stage", writes Katherine Donnelly.
The president sent a message of congratulations to the Irish women U-17s on the eve of their historic appearance in a European championship final tie -- against Spain.
She emailed a letter to team captain Dora Gorman, who read it to the players before their final training session in Nyon, Switzerland, home to the headquarters of European soccer's ruling body, UEFA.
Messages of support have been flooding into the Irish base since the competition started last week.
The 32-member squad included 17-year-old Mayo girl Aileen Gilroy, who sat her agricultural science paper in the UEFA headquarters on Thursday.
Ms Gorman said they "were genuinely surprised and grateful" for the letter, and they hoped they could "repay the faith in us by bringing home the UEFA Championship trophy".