Sport Soccer

Friday 20 September 2019

Tom O'Connor awaiting call on Ireland Women's post as Montenegro test looms

Interim Ireland Women's senior team manager Tom O'Connor is pictured during a training session at Tallaght Stadium in Tallaght, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Interim Ireland Women's senior team manager Tom O'Connor is pictured during a training session at Tallaght Stadium in Tallaght, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Ireland women’s caretaker boss Tom O’Connor insists he’d love the job on a permanent basis following's tomorrow’s opening Euro 2021 qualifier against Montenegro.

The FAI have yet to appoint a successor to Colin Bell, whose abrupt exit just 10 weeks before the new campaign started provided another headache for the association already in turbulence.

Ireland’s Manchester City defender Megan Campbell was adamant in July that the association must avoid sourcing the new manager from within, suggesting such an action could trigger a glut of retirements.

Captain Katie McCabe wasn’t so restrictive in her criteria and O’Connor, a FAI employee who worked as the assistant of Bell and his predecessor Sue Ronan, has ambitions for the full-time role.

Katie McCabe is pictured during an Ireland training session at Tallaght Stadium. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Katie McCabe is pictured during an Ireland training session at Tallaght Stadium. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Despite talk of a manager with professional experience being the priority for the FAI, the Dubliner's name remains in the hunt.

O’Connor took charge for the recent friendly against World Champions USA and stays at the helm for the meeting with the minnows, who were thumped 10-0 by Germany in their first qualifier on Saturday.

The identify of the new boss should be known by the time second seeds Ukraine visit Tallaght Stadium in Ireland’s second match on October 8.

"I’ve been interviewed for the job and am waiting back on results," said O’Connor. "I’ll always be myself, known as Tommo, whatever happens.

"On a personal note, I’ve loved every minute of being the custodian of the position.

"That will be a decision to be made by my employers. Hopefully I’ll stay onboard in some shape or form."

O’Connor has only had to make one change to his original squad, with Galway striker Chloe Singleton replacing the injured Clare Shine.

Ireland face Germany, Ukraine, Greece and Montenegro in their bid to reach a first ever major tournament.

After finishing third in the last World Cup group, they need to be amongst the top two to be in the frame to feature at the 2021 Euro showpiece hosted by England.

Captain Katie McCabe says they’re not starting the campaign thinking of the runners-up berth.

"We’re here to win the group," she asserted.

The Kilnamanagh native is hoping for a big turnout in her local stadium.

"I'm hoping for a Shamrock Rovers v Bohemians crowd," he said with a giggle, referring to Friday night's bumper attendance of 7,021 at the venue.

Women's Euro 2021 qualifier:

Ireland v Montenegro, Tallaght Stadium, Tuesday 7.30pm.

Ireland squad:
Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (SC Braga), Grace Moloney (Reading)
Defenders: Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Megan Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Claire O’Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Eabha O’Mahony (Cork City)
Midfielders: Tyler Toland (Manchester City), Claire Walsh (Peamount United), Eleanor Ryan-Doyle (Peamount United), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Jess Gargan (Shelbourne)
Forwards: Amber Barrett (FC Köln), Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Rianna Jarrett (Wexford Youths), Heather Payne (Florida State University), Chloe Singleton (Galway), Stephanie Roche (CF Florentia)

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