Above: Goalkeeper Ellie Scott, seen here in full flight during a friendly against Belgium WU17s back in the autumn, is off to Turkey this month as part of the Northern Ireland WU17 squad.
The Northern Ireland Women’s Under-17 squad for Euro qualifiers against Turkey and Armenia later this month was announced today.
A 20-strong panel has been chosen for the matches, which are being staged in Turkey on Friday 24 March and Monday 27 March.
Darcie McNeill in action for Northern Ireland WU17 against Republic of Ireland WU17
Northern Ireland’s games in the second phase of qualifiers for the 2022-23 edition of UEFA Women’s U17 Euro will both be played at the Emirhan Sport Center Stadium in Manavgat, a city in the Antalya Province in southern Turkey.
Northern Ireland senior international player Julie Nelson will be in charge of the team in Turkey. She is currently managing the WU17s on an interim basis (eight-week period).
Nelson put the players through their paces at a training camp last month and has been staging weekly training sessions ahead of the tournament.
A new permanent manager for both the WU17 and WU19 teams will be appointed by the Irish FA in the coming months.
Matchday one in the three-team tournament (League B Group 5) in Turkey will see the WU17s come up against the host nation. The game on 24 March is set to kick off at 10am UK time.
Armenia will provide the opposition on matchday two. The start time in Manavgat is scheduled to be 11am UK time.
All League B group winners, and the runner-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their section, will be promoted to League A for 2023-24 round one.
Northern Ireland, who are top seeds in B5, will no doubt be looking to repeat their March 2022 heroics in Israel when they won all of their matches in a mini tournament to reach League A for qualifying round one of the 2022-23 edition of the WU17 Euro competition.
Back in October the WU17s were relegated to League B for stage two of the 2022-23 edition following League A group defeats against Republic of Ireland, Finland and Austria.
The Northern Ireland WU17 squad for this month’s Euro qualifiers is as follows:
Goalkeepers – Ellie Scott (Lisburn Rangers Ladies), Cerys Sharkey (Glentoran Women).
Defenders – Sophie Gargan, Sofie Keenan and Abi Sweetlove (all Linfield Women), Morgan Hanna (Larne Women), Olivia Canavan (Glentoran Women), Niamh O’Donnell (Mid Ulster Ladies).
Midfielders – Aimee Kerr and Ellen McCartney (both Ballyclare Comrades Ladies), Darcie McNeill and Erin Morrison (both Crusaders Strikers), Faye Loughran (Lisburn Rangers Ladies), Mia Moore (Linfield Women).
Forwards – Rachel McIntyre and Kascie Weir (both Glentoran Women), Rhianna Breen and Maureen Quinn (both Linfield Women), Ciara McAleer (Sion Swifts Ladies), Rebecca Mann (Crusaders Strikers).