Wednesday 12 December 2018

Fahey wary of French threat

John Fallon

IReland star Niamh Fahey has known nothing except achievement in her sporting career, but one ambition remains.

Though she led Galway to Gaelic football All-Ireland glory in 2004, won the FAI Cup three years later in soccer and has scooped three top-flight titles since joining Arsenal, reaching a major international tournament ranks as her main target.

Saturday's 2-0 victory over Wales in Newport set Ireland's quest to qualify for the 2013 European Championships in motion, yet they face the ultimate test tonight against France at Turner's Cross (7.45).

Defeat to the semi-finalists from the summer World Cup wouldn't be fatal, as second place from the five-nation group clinches a play-off shot, and Fahey knows anything from the game will represent progress.

"France are one of the best teams in Europe," said the 23-year-old midfielder. "It's likely we'll be defending for most of the game.

"Still, this is probably the strongest group of players we've had since I came into the squad. We really feel we can challenge for qualification. It would be very disappointing to end my career without having played at a tournament for Ireland because that's the pinnacle of any player's career.

IRELAND (probable) -- Byrne (Arsenal); Caldwell (Thor/KA), Tracy (Arsenal), Quinn (Peamount United), Murray (Peamount); Fahey (Arsenal), Grant (Arsenal), Roche (Peamount); O'Gorman (Doncaster), O'Sullivan (Pitea IF), Smyth (Amazon Grimstad).

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