'In trying to juggle work and football, we sacrifice a lot'
Aine O'Gorman has represented her country for more than 10 years, but she says juggling soccer and work is a massive commitment.
The 27-year-old fitness instructor from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, said there was a hefty financial burden placed on the squad to represent their country.
Despite having a flexible employer, she had to take 40 days off over the past 12 months, and most of her days are taken at her own expense.
The UCD Waves star said players were just looking for support to help them fulfil their potential. The women's national team estimate losses of earnings of between €5,000 and €7,000 each year per player.
"I've been playing for 11 years, so you can work that out," O'Gorman told the Irish Independent.
The striker also highlighted the sacrifices players have to make to play for their country.
"It is a huge honour to play for your country but at the same time we're trying to juggle work and football, it's just to help us to be able to perform to our maximum potential," she said.
"You sacrifice a lot of holidays. You have to accommodate your days off for football and you have to be clever about sacrificing family events.
"If you look at the Scottish model, they've just qualified for the European Championships and they went into a model where all their home-based players went into part-time employment and their full-time wage was made up, so they could train like full-time athletes as well.
"We're competing against teams with all these resources and full-time environments and it's just the little push we need to progress to the next level and qualify for a major tournament."