Wexford’s Ellen Molloy hasn’t given up on World Cup dream

Ellen Molloy: ‘I haven’t given up myself, I’m going to do everything I can’. Photo: Sportsfile

Seán O'Connor

Wexford Youths midfielder Ellen Molloy insists she hasn’t given up on her World Cup dream, as she recovers from a cruciate ligament injury sustained last September.

The Kilkenny native earned her maiden senior call-up in August 2020, while her first cap arrived two months later in a Euro 2022 qualifier against Ukraine at age 16.

She also featured in Ireland’s World Cup qualification campaign, but disaster struck in the final weeks of last season as she suffered the knee injury against Treaty United which ruled her out of the play-off win over Scotland.

Molloy is too cautious to set a date for her return, but remains determined to add to her six caps at this summer’s finals in Australia and New Zealand, as Pauw names her squad for next month’s trip to the USA this morning.

“I haven’t given up myself, I’m going to do everything I can,” said Molloy, speaking at the launch of the Ireland Women’s National Team 50-Year Celebrations this week.

“But every girl in the country is going to do everything they can, so we’ll just wait and see. I don’t want to rush it, I don’t want to go through this again. When I’m back, hopefully I’m back for good.

“Definitely the second half of the season (return). I don’t want to put a definite date on it and don’t want to get my hopes up. I’m hoping maybe June or July.”

The midfielder admits it was strange not to be involved in Ireland’s historic World Cup play-off last October, as she underwent surgery on her knee, but says she felt honoured to play a role in helping them qualify for a first major tournament.

“They qualified two or three weeks after I tore my ACL. It was a weird moment,” Molloy added, who was named in the Women’s Premier Division Team of the Year last year.

“I was in the game before to get to the play-offs. I’m delighted whether I was there or not, it’s still a massive privilege to be such a small part of it.

“Vera asks me how I’m getting on. I’m just going to stay quietly doing what I can. If I’m ready and she sees that, we’ll just wait and see what happens.”

Molloy reflected on suffering the first long-term injury of her career, and reveals it led her to re-evaluate her career ambitions. Ireland team-mate Chloe Mustaki was also a support, as the Bristol City defender has recovered from the same injury before.

“I was trying to turn and my knee went from under me,” said the 18-year-old Youths star.

“Initially I heard the pop. I screamed more out of fear of the injury rather than the actual pain. I knew it was serious, but I was definitely in a bit of denial. I think at the back of my mind I knew straight away what it was.

“It puts things into perspective, you’re not going to play soccer forever. I was in college doing radiography. When I got injured I realised I didn’t want to do that, teaching was what I wanted so I took the year out. I’m working, doing rehab and dedicating the year to my knee. I’m going to hopefully go back next year and do PE and maths.

“Chloe messaged me. Unfortunately at Wexford, we have loads of people to bounce off, Rianna (Jarrett), Edel (Kennedy) and Della (Doherty). It’s just good to be able to bounce off each other, if we need a little bit of a lift.”