Simone Magill is expected to be back in a Northern Ireland shirt next month just over a year after damaging her knee at UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.
The Aston Villa Women striker, who returned to FA Women’s Super League action with her club last month, has not played for her country since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the opening Euros group game with Norway last July.
But today the 28-year-old, who has earned 70 caps and scored 21 goals for Northern Ireland to date, was named in the senior women’s squad for next month’s away friendlies against Scotland and Czechia (Czech Republic).
Interim Northern Ireland Women manager Gail Redmond has chosen a 23-strong panel for the challenge matches against the Scots in Dundee on 14 July and the Czechs in Opava on 18 July.
A new face in the panel is Cliftonville Ladies keeper Rachael Norney, who has been performing well for the Northern Ireland Women’s U19 side over the past 12 to 18 months and is also now a mainstay in the NIFL Women’s Premiership for the Reds.
The squad shows four changes from the group chosen for the friendly against Wales back in April.
Also returning to the fold alongside Magill, who picked up her injury on 7 July last year, are Cliftonville striker Danielle Maxwell and Cliftonville defender Fi Morgan, who were both in the squad for the friendly international against Italy in Belfast late last year but missed out on the Wales game.
Cliftonville striker Kirsty McGuinness is not available due to injury, while the others missing out this time are Crusaders keeper Maddy Harvey-Clifford, Laura Rafferty (Southampton Women) and Ellie Mason (Lewes Women).
Reading Women goalkeeper Jackie Burns is still unavailable after having surgery on a damaged achilles, while veteran Crusaders Strikers defender Julie Nelson is completing her rehabilitation after knee surgery.
The Northern Ireland Women squad to face Scotland and Czechia is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Shannon Turner (Wolverhampton Wanderers Women), Rachael Norney (Cliftonville Ladies), Lilie Woods (Mid Ulster Ladies).
Defenders: Kelsie Burrows, Abbie Magee and Fi Morgan (all Cliftonville Ladies), Rebecca Holloway (Racing Louisville, USA), Sarah McFadden (Durham Women), Rebecca McKenna(Lewes Women), Demi Vance (Glentoran Women).
Midfielders: Nadene Caldwell, Joely Andrews, Chloe McCarron and Caragh Hamilton (all Glentoran Women), Marissa Callaghan (Cliftonville Ladies), Rachel Furness (Bristol City Women), Megan Bell (Rangers Women).
Forwards: Emily Wilson and Kerry Beattie (both Glentoran Women), Caitlin McGuinness and Danielle Maxwell (both Cliftonville Ladies), Simone Magill (Aston Villa Women), Lauren Wade (Reading Women).