Northern Ireland Women’s U17 boss Alison Nicholl has picked a 20-strong squad for three UEFA WU17 European Championship qualifiers in Greece.
Greece is hosting a six-match mini qualifying tournament (12 October-18 October) which also features Switzerland and Kazakhstan as well as Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland’s first game in Qualifying Group 9 is against the host nation at Zossimades in Ioannina at 10am on Friday (12 October) followed by a match against Switzerland on Sunday at Kranoula Municipal Stadium in Ioannina (1300).
The final game for Northern Ireland is back at Zossimades next Thursday (18 October) when they face Kazakhstan (10am).
The top two sides in every qualifying group plus the four third-placed teams with the best record against the top two in their section will join holders Spain in the elite round draw on 23 November, with the games in spring 2019. The seven elite round group winners will join hosts Bulgaria in the finals from 5-17 May next year.
The Northern Ireland squad looks strong. It features seven players who were part of the panel at a WU17 Euros qualifying tournament in Portugal last year: US-based Breckyn Monteith, Toni-Leigh Finnegan, Maddison Harvey-Clifford, Joely Andrews, Kirsty Cameron, Kerry Beattie and Casey Howe.
And a handful of the U17 players have been playing in Northern Ireland’s top flight this season, including Casey Howe of Linfield Ladies, who had a fine end to the domestic season as the Blues secured the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership crown.
Aimee-Lee Peachey was in the Glentoran Women’s team who won the Electric Ireland Challenge Cup last month, while Joely Andrews and Danielle Maxwell were on the bench for the Glens when they defeated Linfield Ladies in the Irish Cup decider. Howe and Caitlin McGuinness were both in the cup final squad for the Blues.
The WU17 squad is largely made up of players who are with clubs in Northern Ireland, however the panel also features Bristol City’s Libby Gilmore, Maddison Dodson (Slammers FC, USA), Grainne O’Casey (FC Dallas, USA) and Monteith, who plays for Charlotte Soccer Academy.
Northern Ireland WU17 squad:
Goalkeepers – Maddison Harvey-Clifford (Crusaders Strikers), Jenna Corry (Lisburn Rangers);
Defenders – Breckyn Monteith (Charlotte Soccer Academy), Rachel McLaren (Crusaders Strikers), Libby Gilmore (Bristol City), Aimee-Lee Peachey (Glentoran Women), Kirsty Cameron (Linfield Ladies), Toni-Leigh Finnegan (Cliftonville Ladies), Maddison Dodson (Slammers FC);
Midfielders – Danielle Maxwell (Glentoran Women), Mia Fitzsimmons (Linfield Ladies), Kerry Beattie (Glentoran Women), Sophie Megaw (Lisburn Rangers), Casey Howe (Linfield Ladies), Jessica Rea (Crusaders Strikers), Grainne O’Casey (FC Dallas);
Forwards – Joely Andrews (Glentoran Women), Faith Johnston (Crusaders Strikers), Caitlin McGuinness (Linfield Ladies), Carla Devine (Cliftonville Ladies).