Northern Ireland’s Women’s Under-19 team will be in Poland next week to compete in stage one of the qualifiers for UEFA WU19 Euro 2023.
They have been drawn in Group A5 alongside France, Republic of Ireland and hosts Poland.
The four-team mini tournament gets under way on Tuesday (4 October) when Northern Ireland take on France at the Swarzedz Stadium in Swarzedz, a town in west-central Poland. The game will kick off at 10am UK time.
Game two, on the same day, will see Poland face the Republic at the Plewiska Stadium in Plewiska, a small town near Poznan in west-central Poland.
Northern Ireland’s second game is against the Republic next Friday. Swarzedz Stadium will be the venue once again, and it is scheduled to be another 10am UK time start.
And the final game for the WU19s in A5 is set to be against Poland on Monday 10 October at the Plewiska Stadium. Kick-off will be at 1pm UK time.
Twenty players have been chosen to make the trip to Poland, including several who have stepped up from the Women’s Under-17 team.
The WU19 squad shows 13 changes from the 20-strong group that gained promotion to League A from a League B mini tournament within the 2021-22 competition which was hosted in Northern Ireland in April.
Many of the players who were included back in the spring are now too old to compete at U19 level.
Lisburn Rangers Ladies quartet Helen Parker, Ella Haughey, Eve Reilly and Ellie-Mae Dickson are still involved, however, along with Jane McMaster (Linfield Ladies), Cliftonville Ladies winger Erin Montgomery and Reds midfielder Grace McKimm, who was in the senior squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Luxembourg and Latvia earlier this month.
Eight players have stepped up from the WU17s, who gained promotion to League A for their qualifiers at the end of next month by winning a mini tournament in Israel in March.
The eight include Linfield Ladies quartet Erin McAllister, Rhyleigh Marks, Keri Halliday and Emily Reid, Sion Swifts Ladies pair Naomi McLaughlin and Aoibhe O’Neill plus Sarah Tweedie (Glentoran Women) and Mikayla Wildgoose (Birmingham City Women).
Goalkeeper Rachael Norney (Cliftonville Ladies) was injured for the WU19 qualifiers in April but has now returned to the ranks, while Glentoran Women defender Rebecca Magee has previously played for the WU17s. Aimee Neal (Sion Swifts Ladies) was called in to a WU19 squad last year but had to withdraw due to injury.
Receiving their first call-ups to the Northern Ireland set-up are midfielders Maeve McConaghy (Glentoran Women) and Molly Loughran (Lisburn Rangers Ladies).
In the 2022-23 WU19 competition the team finishing fourth in each of the seven League A groups will be relegated to League B for round two. The teams remaining in League A, and seven teams promoted from League B, will compete next spring for places at next summer’s UEFA WU19 Euro tournament in Belgium.
Northern Ireland WU19 squad for Euro qualifiers in Poland:
Goalkeepers - Rachael Norney (Cliftonville Ladies), Erin McAllister (Linfield Ladies).
Defenders - Sarah Tweedie and Rebecca Magee (both Glentoran Women), Jane McMaster (Linfield Ladies), Aimee Neal (Sion Swifts Ladies), Mikayla Wildgoose (Birmingham City Women), Ella Haughey (Lisburn Rangers Ladies).
Midfielders - Helen Parker and Molly Loughran (both Lisburn Rangers Ladies), Maeve McConaghy (Glentoran Women), Aoibhe O'Neill (Sion Swifts Ladies), Grace McKimm (Cliftonville Ladies), Rhyleigh Marks (Linfield Ladies).
Forwards - Keri Halliday and Emily Reid (both Linfield Ladies), Eve Reilly and Ellie-Mae Dickson (both Lisburn Rangers Ladies), Naomi McLaughlin (Sion Swifts Ladies), Erin Montgomery (Cliftonville Ladies).