‘There is no fear for the World Cup’ – Katie McCabe named in Ireland squad to face USA

Katie McCabe is in the Ireland squad despite her recent injury

Aidan Fitzmaurice

VERA Pauw has admitted her relief that there is “no fear” over her captain Katie McCabe missing the World Cup finals in July due to injury.

And the Ireland boss hopes that the foot injury which McCabe sustained on club duty in the Champions League on Wednesday night will not prevent her from taking part in at least one of the two-game series of friendlies in the USA next month as part of the warm-up for the World Cup finals.

Pauw named that squad today, one that includes five home-based players with a first-time call-up for Alannah McEvoy (Shamrock Rovers) and Tara O’Hanlon (Peamount United).

Pauw was concerned when McCabe was forced off late on in the game as Arsenal beat Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League semi-finals, with the player seen on crutches and in a protective boot just after the win. But McCabe’s scan has since delivered the news that there is swelling but no long-term damage and the 27-year-old may even now be passed fit to travel to the USA with the Irish squad for two friendlies.

"Of course very worried. I thought 'let it not interfere with her World Cup' because she deserves it so much and Ireland deserves to have her at the World Cup," Pauw said at a media briefing at FAI HQ today.

"We are waiting on the final say of the doctor but her x-ray is clear and her scan is clear. So, it looks like a very bad bruise on the bone and now the assessment is that if that bruise can heal in time she can play, but that is up to the doctor. The biggest relief is of course that it is not a long term injury, it is just a matter of whether she can play against the USA or not, but no fear for the World Cup."

She said the Arsenal medical staff will decide if McCabe can travel to the US for the games in St Louis and Texas. "The chances are pretty high, because if there is no damage it is a matter of 'can we control the pain?' but that is up to the doctors. The Arsenal doctor is assessing it at this moment,” Pauw added.

"I would never bring a player, even Katie, if she has no chance of playing. If a player of Katie's calibre has a chance to playing she also brings stability to the group and that is very necessary when you play a game like this.”

There is a first call-up for Rovers player McEvoy and Peamount’s O’Hanlon, but no place in the squad for Lucy Quinn. Megan Campbell misses out for personal reasons but has no fitness issues, while Jess Ziu, Ellen Molloy, Niamh Fahey, Chloe Mustaki and Leanne Kiernan have injury worries.

The US trip will see Pauw visit there for the first time since she was sanctioned by soccer authorities over issues from her time at Houston Dash and she admits it could be a tense trip. “Concerned, no, but I’m not looking forward to it," she said when asked if she had a concern about returning to the US.

“I hope that the people in the USA are wise and are reading the articles that have been written in Ireland because then there is nothing else to say.”