Teenager Grace McKimm is thrilled at being called up to the Northern Ireland senior women’s squad for the first time.
McKimm, who turned 18 in May, was only drafted in to Kenny Shiels’ panel last weekend for the FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg - it is being staged tomorrow - and next week’s qualifier against Latvia.
The Cliftonville Ladies player was preparing to be part of a Northern Ireland Women’s U19 training camp when Shiels rang to say she was going to the seniors instead.
“It was a big shock but I have loved every minute of it,” she said, adding that she was “really excited” to receive her first call-up.
She further said she has enjoyed getting a taste of what it’s like to train and perform at the highest level for her country.
McKimm, who can play in defence or in midfield, has previously played for Northern Ireland at U19 and U17 level.
She said she is not expecting to make her senior debut during this international window, but added that it would be “incredible” if she did get minutes on the pitch and it would make her “extremely happy”.
The Northern Ireland senior squad includes seven Cliftonville Ladies players and McKimm revealed it was great having her club-mates alongside her this week to offer encouragement and support.