Sunday 25 August 2019

Girls in Green hoping to rain on America's World Cup heroes' parade

Captain Katie McCabe: :
Captain Katie McCabe: : "Obviously, preparing to play the world champions is different - you don't play the USA every day. But the girls have been great, there's a real togetherness in the team and we're just ready to go now.". Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

In the early hours of Sunday morning, the Republic of Ireland women's team will try and play the role of party-poopers as America's World Cup heroes begin their victory tour in Pasadena's Rose Bowl.

The five-game tour is essentially a commercial idea that will give the US authorities the chance to cash in on their success in France.

For the Irish players, who will be expected to function as cannon fodder, it's a daunting proposition but it should also be an exciting one with a huge crowd expected at the iconic California venue. More than 32,000 tickets have already been sold.

The team are without a manager at the moment after Colin Bell left for Huddersfield, with interviews taking place over the past week.

Bell's former assistant Tom O'Connor will be in charge. Ireland's squad of 20 players travelled to the States this week to begin preparations although club commitments have ruled out key performers Megan Campbell and Denise O'Sullivan. Megan Connolly also misses out through injury.

Ireland captain Katie McCabe said: "Obviously, preparing to play the world champions is different - you don't play the USA every day. But the girls have been great, there's a real togetherness in the team and we're just ready to go now."

Meanwhile, Irishwoman Michelle O'Neill will be part of a historic moment on August 14 when an all-female officiating team preside over the Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea in Istanbul.

Stephanie Frappart will become the first woman to referee a major European men's game when she takes charge of the meeting of the Champions League and Europa League winners.

O'Neill was one of the two assistant referees for last month's World Cup final where the USA got the better of the Netherlands. Frappart was in charge for that match and they have been given the opportunity to reunite for the showpiece fixture.

The Enniscorthy native joined the League of Ireland panel in 2010 and has also served on the sideline for an FAI Cup final.

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