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Katie overcomes broken leg to shine as Girls in Green go for UEFA glory

SHE's a key player in the Irish U19 squad storming its way through the European Championships in Sweden.

But the road to success hasn't always been smooth for Dublin striker Katie McCabe.

The Tallaght native, who's been kicking a ball since the age of five, almost lost out on her UEFA Championship dreams after suffering a broken leg during a club match in February.

But the determined 18-year-old had other plans.

"I had every faith that the girls were going to get through the elite round in April while I was in the middle of physio so I made it my business to be here with them," Katie told the Herald yesterday.

It was certainly worth putting herself through an intense recovery period, as the women's team have broken Irish records by qualifying for the tournament for the first time.

Katie's footballing partner in crime Claire Shine, her team-mate at Raheny United, has been on hand throughout the last three games, and the pair have set up a number of vital goals for the Girls in Green.

Footballing talent runs in the teen's family - her brother Gary plays with Shamrock Rovers.

As children, the pair played together at local clubs, and Katie said: "He is bit of a role model for me, even though he would laugh at me for saying that."

On Monday the Irish squad beat hosts Sweden 2-1 to clinch a semi-final spot in the championships.

They face Holland tomorrow in their first game of the knockout stages.

Katie has been playing in an Irish jersey since she was just 13, but said this week's experience has been "absolutely surreal".

She praised the loyal supporters who travelled, saying: "When we went behind in the Sweden game, the crowd really got behind us and gave us what we needed to push on."

Katie said she hopes to follow in the footsteps of Irish players such as Arsenal's Emma Byrne and play overseas.

"I'd go anywhere that the set-up was worthwhile for female players," she said.

The striker had her hopes of a move to the US dashed this year. A scholarship offer from Florida State University was on the table for the soccer star, but the potential move was delayed when she broke her leg.

"It was devastating news, but I know I'll be ready when I get to finally go," she said.