Republic of Ireland Women’s striker Leanne Kiernan is ready to lead Ireland to the 2021 European Championships qualifiers.
The Cavan native has gone from strength to strength for Colin Bell’s side since her move to English Women’s Super League side West Ham United last year.
The 19-year-old is set to start again in Tuesday’s international friendly against Wales in Marbella and she is already planning to play a big part in the upcoming qualification campaign.
“It’s going to be great” declared Kieran, “to have the draw made now, it makes it feel real and you can feel the positivity within the camp at the moment,”
“You see the quality in the squad and it makes you really excited as a player to be part of something which could be really special.”
“I’m working hard to keep improving and feeling really strong at the moment, and you see the same improvement in every player“.
“It’s been a great camp for us. We’ve been able to do a lot of hard work on the pitch and really focus our attention on what we need to do.”
“We did really well in the first game but now we’re looking to improve on that and win the game.”
Ireland were drawn into Group I where they will face Germany, Ukraine, Greece and Montenegro, starting with a home match against Montenegro in September.
Bell’s side have another international friendly scheduled against Italy in April as the squad bid to qualify for their first-ever major international tournament.
“We made a lot of steps forward during the last campaign. We were able to achieve some great results and I thought we were really unlucky to miss out in the end,” continued Ballieborough-born Kiernan.
“We’ll be looking to bring that momentum forward into the next campaign and with the next two friendly matches coming up, against tough sides like Wales and Italy, we’ll want to use every minute we have together as a squad.
“We want to be that squad who first qualified for a major international tournament, it’s a huge motivation.“
“It’s a dream to play for your country but to play at the European Championships for your country is on another level.”
Ireland Women’s 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)
Wales v Republic of Ireland
Estadio Municipal de Marbella
Tuesday March 5th, Kick-Off 12pm (1pm local time)