Thursday 22 August 2019

McCabe hopes Ireland women get a chance to play at the Aviva

Katie McCabe is enjoying life at Arsenal, recently winning a league title and signing a long-term deal. Photo: Getty
Katie McCabe is enjoying life at Arsenal, recently winning a league title and signing a long-term deal. Photo: Getty
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland captain Katie McCabe has seen first-hand how quickly women's football is growing in England and is desperate for Ireland to make similar strides.

McCabe, who recently won the English league title with Arsenal, wants to see football become big enough in this country so that she can one day fulfil her dream of playing with the girls in green at the Aviva Stadium.

The 23-year-old enjoyed an unforgettable season with the London club where her form was rewarded with a new long-term contract.

"It's growing in England, the support the England team are getting," McCabe said at the national stadium where she supported Aviva's #SafeToDream campaign, which coincided with her publicly confirming her relationship with international team-mate Ruesha Littlejohn.

"I want that to happen here in Ireland. It's all about coming out and supporting the girls, coming to Tallaght to watch us play and they are doing that in England.

"I want to turn that into Ireland now and everyone to get behind us in September (for the Euro 2021 qualifiers).

"The Aviva is the home of Irish soccer and rugby, so for the women to join in one day would be pretty special.

"How nice would it be to walk out here with the girls? One day, I can definitely see it happening. We have to get results under our belt now and get ourselves into a good position."

McCabe and her team-mates will have to watch the upcoming World Cup at home after Ireland missed out on qualification from a tough group.

"I'm coming to terms with the fact that we didn't qualify (for the World Cup).

"It has been a good year obviously with the club. Seeing girls going off, team-mates I have back at Arsenal, going off with the other teams.

"Yeah, we want to be there. Yeah, I'm jealous they are going. But our focus now is the tournament in September and Montenegro for the start of our European campaign. We want to be in England in 2021."

The midfielder is, however, confident that Colin Bell's side are on the right track as they prepare for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers.

"When you are playing big nations like the European champions (the Netherlands) and Norway it helps and with big games coming up next year against the Ukraine and Germany, it will attract more people to come and watch us," McCabe added.

"But what's most important is that people come when we are not winning, that they are still there supporting us coming out in the rain and the wind in Tallaght. That's what's important as well."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport