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Megan Campbell returns as Colin Bell names Republic of Ireland squad

Tue, Feb 26 2019

Megan Campbell returns to the Ireland squad after a long absence Credit: Al Robinson (ETPhotos)

Republic of Ireland Women's National Team Head Coach Colin Bell has named a 20-player squad for the Marbella international friendly double-header against Wales.

Manchester City defender Megan Campbell returns to in the squad for the first time in over a year. A month after helping the Irish side claim a 2-0 win over Slovakia in October, 2017, the 25-year old sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury in an UEFA Women's Champions League match against LSK Kvinner FK in November 2017.

Drogheda native Megan has only recently returned to action for Manchester City and was on the bench as her Sky Blue colleagues took the FA Women’s League Cup in a Bramall Lane penalty shootout against Arsenal at the weekend. Ireland WNT squad members Louise Quinn and Katie McCabe played for Arsenal, who were the FA Women’s League Cup holders.

Striker Leanne Kiernan, who missed the away friendly 1-0 loss to Belgium last month, has also returned to the WNT squad after firing a hat trick for West Ham against Huddersfield on her return from injury.

Le Havre goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan has been recalled to the squad.  Capped at Under 17 and Under 19 level for Ireland, Brosnan’s first senior call-up was to the final training camp of 2018 at Abbottstown.

Shelbourne winger Isibeal Atkinson will be missing after suffering an injury during pre-season with the Women's National League club, while Emily Kraft picked up an injury against Iceland for the Women's Under-17s and won’t be involved this time. 

Ireland’s warm weather friendlies against the Welsh are part of Bell’s preparations for UEFA 2021 European Championships qualifying, which will get underway in September. Ireland were placed in Group I and will face Germany, Ukraine, Greece and Montenegro in their bid to qualify for their first-ever major international tournament. After the Wales encounters, Ireland will travel to Italy for another friendly in April.

"It's going to be an important week and after finding out our opponents for the qualifying campaign, it definitely adds an extra importance on the two games," said WNT Head Coach Colin Bell.

"Wales are an excellent opponent for us to face, they were second seeds in the draw, and they're exactly the type of opposition we will need to beat in qualifying if we're going to make our first international tournament. 

"The players have made incredible progress but we need to keep that intensity up as we build towards September. 

"I'm delighted to see Megan Campbell return to the squad. Megan is a crucial player for us and she's had to show real resilience to get through her injury and it's great to have her back involved for the two games."

Republic of Ireland WNT squad v Wales
Goalkeeepers: Marie Hourihan (Brighton & Hove Albion), Grace Moloney (Reading), Courtney Brosnan (Le Harve)
Defenders: Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Heather Payne (Bristol City), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Claire O'Riordan (MSV Duisberg), Megan Campbell (Manchester City), Eabha O'Mahony (Cork City) 
Midfielders: Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), Tyler Toland (Kildrum Tigers), Denise O'Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne)
Forwards: Amber Barrett (Peamount United), Leanne Kiernan (West Ham United), Emily Whelan (Shelbourne), Katie McCabe (Arsenal)

Fixtures - International Friendlies
28/02: Wales v Republic of Ireland, Marbella Football Centre, 3pm (4pm local time)
05/03: Wales v Republic of Ireland, Estadio Municipal de Marbella, 12pm (1pm local time)