Grace honoured with international call-up to Ireland senior squad
There was a double reason to celebrate for Dundalk City player and Ard Easmuinn resident Grace Murray on Wednesday night.Former neighbour Stephen Staunton had guided Ireland to a 3-0 win over Sweden in his first game as manager, and as Grace left Lansdowne Road, scene of Dundalk Citys triumph over Peamount Utd. in the WFAI Senior Cup Final last December, came the news that she had been called up by ladies senior manager Noel King to the Ireland squad taking part in the Algarve Cup from las
Ireland have been grouped with hosts Portugal, Mexico and Slovakia.
It has been a remarkable year for the 16 year-old St. Louis student, winning the Leinster U-16 Gaynor Cup, capped at U-17 and U-19 level, and secured her place at left-back in the first phase of the 2005/2006 UEFA U-19 Championships in Estonia with wins over Latvia, Estonia and group favourites Norway.
Grace has been put on stand-by for the Algarve Cup and for the Ireland senior squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifier away to Switzerland on 25th March having impressed King while training with the squad over Christmas.
The Dundalk City player has had a hectic schedule training with the U-19 team as they prepare for the second phase of the 2005/2006 UEFA Championships in Slovenia at the end of April.
“I’m delighted to be included in the senior squad for the first time. I’m looking forward to the trip.”
While dedicated to her sport, she puts a lot of her success down to Dundalk City coach Tommy Tasker.
“Tommy has a wealth of experience as a player and has been tremendous to work with. I hadn’t a clue how to defend until he took me under his wing. I played all my football on the left side of midfield until he saw my potential as a defender. His coaching has improved by overall game and has helped me to where I am today.”
There are remarkable similarities between Grace and Stephen Staunton. Their fathers were colleagues in An Garda Siochana in Dundalk, they were raised in the same street in Ard Easmuinn, attended the Friary National School and played with local club St. Dominic’s in the Schoolboys League before playing for Dundalk.
What’s more, both are left-footed and have gone on to represent their country, and while Grace has a long way to go to reach Stephen’s record 102 caps, with eleven caps and 2 goals to her credit at the tender age of 16, her international career looks bright.