According to a review of data published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, physical activity, especially sports involvement, can improve cognitive function and academic achievement in children and adolescents.
We hope at this stage you are beginning to see how beneficial sports can be for your little bundles of joy.
Republic of Ireland Women’s National Football Team: The Road to Down Under
FIFA Women’s World Cup UEFA Qualifiers Group Stage
Republic of Ireland 0-1 Sweden
October 21, 2021
The Republic of Ireland opened their campaign with a defeat, but there was huge encouragement got from holding World number 2, Sweden, as close as they did.
A first-half own goal by Louise Quinn was enough for Sweden in Tallaght Stadium was enough for Sweden to give them the win.
Katie McCabe and Lucy Quinn came closest for the home side but couldn’t find the net.
But optimism was high after the opening night.
Finland 1-2 Republic of Ireland
October 26, 2021
Vera Pauw’s side got their campaign back on track at the first time of asking with a 2-1 win away to Finland in Helsinki.
A brilliant free kick from Megan Connolly put the Republic of Ireland ahead after ten minutes and dominated much of the first half but couldn’t find a second.
However, a fighting re-start from Finland saw them draw level in the 52nd minute through Engman.
But the brilliant Denise O’Sullivan responded instantly , capitalising on poor goalkeeping to fire Ireland ahead.
Goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan put in a player of the match performance to keep their hopes alive.
Republic of Ireland 1-1 Slovakia
November 25, 2021
The Girls in Green were brought crashing back to earth after a strong start to their campaign with this result.
In truth, it very easily could have been a loss too after a second half goal from Martina Surnovska gave the away side a lead.
Thankfully, however, Katie McCabe would pull one back, burying a low shot into the far corner to send the home crowd into raptures.
‘Georgia is a must-win – simple,’ manager Vera Pauw said afterwards.
Republic of Ireland 11-0 Georgia
November 30, 2021
And win they did!
The Republic of Ireland hit a record 11 goals over Georgia in Dublin and got their campaign back on track in style!
The hosts were 4-0 up half time, with goals from Kyra Carusa, Lucy Quinn, Denise O’Sullivan and an own-goal.
O’Sullivan would go on to hit a hat-trick, Katie McCabe got in on the act with a brace, while Saoirse Noonan, Amber Barrett and Megan Connolly completed the rout.
The win moved them into second in the group, behind leaders Sweden and ahead of Finland.
Sweden 1-1 Republic of Ireland
April 12, 2022
Coming into the game a draw would have been a great result for the Republic of Ireland, however by the full time whistle they would have felt disappointed not to have left with three points!
Arsenal star Katie McCabe have the away side a shock lead late in the first half and they looked nailed on to record probably their best win ever, until Real Madrid’s Kosovare Asllani equalised 11 minutes from time.
Despite being under pressure for much of the game, the Irish stuck to their defensive duties diligently, attacking on the break and causing trouble too.
The home side needed a point to qualify, and their siege eventually broke the stern Irish defence down to break the Republic of Ireland’s hearts.
Georgia 0-9 Republic of Ireland
June 27, 2022
A hat-trick from Katie McCabe and double from Louis Quinn thrashed Georgia once more in Gori.
Goals from Niamh Fahey, Megan Connolly, Abbie Larkin and Denise O’Sullivan cruised to a victory that would send them back into second place of the group ahead of Finland.
‘We have two games to go and we have it on our own hands,” Vera Pauw said after. ‘We have the feeling that we can maybe do it.’
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Finland
September 1, 2022
A second half goal from Lily Agg sensational secured the Republic of Ireland a place in the play-offs on a famous night in Dublin.
A record home crowd of 6,952 people packed into Tallaght Stadium to see the Irish recover from a sluggish start to earn them a deserved lead.
They could not begin to dream of a trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2023.
Slovakia 0-1 Republic of Ireland
September 6, 2022
The classy Denise O’Sullivan kept the Girls in Green in winning form against a tough Slovakia side.
Despite already having booked their place in the play-offs, a win for the away side would provide a bit of retribution given Slovakia took points from them earlier in the campaign.
In a cagey game, Cork native O’Sullivan took her goal brilliantly in the 37th minute and added further trajectory to her rising stock in the world game.
FIFA Women’s World Cup UEFA Qualifiers Play Off
Scotland 0-1 Republic of Ireland
October 11, 2022
A famous, famous night.
Amber Barrett’s goal for the Republic of Ireland in the 72nd minute was enough to defeat Scotland at Hampden Park and secure their spot in the tournament in Australia and New Zealand the following year.
As the Scots failed to express themselves and saw their own dreams of replicating their 2019 finals appearance die, Real Madrid star Caroline Weir had a first-half penalty saved from Courtney Brosnan.
Both teams entered the evening unsure of their futures, but other outcomes clarified the picture and made it plain to Republic of Ireland that a victory would be sufficient to guarantee their spot in Australia and New Zealand the following year.
‘I’m so proud of the girls’ performance,’ captain Katie McCabe said after. ‘It wasn’t pretty tonight at all, but it was an unbelievable save from Courtney for the penalty.
‘We put our bodies on the line, we worked for each other, we ran for each other, and that’s what this team is all about.
‘We’ve got an identity we’ve been working on throughout this campaign. It’s not pretty and it’s not everyone’s favourite style of football, but it works for us and we enjoy it.’
Next July the 2023 World Cup gets underway and the Ireland womens football fixtures are sealed.
After qualifying for the tournament for the first time ever after beating Scotland in a Play Off last October, Irish football fans have been waiting patiently to see our opponents.
With the first outing on July 20th, 2023 the Ireland womens football fixtures get off to a tough start against hosts Australia, before a very testing second game against Canada and a final outing against African heavyweights Nigeria.
Despite the big time differences between Ireland and Australia, each game is on at a very respectable time, meaning we will all get to tune in.
In this blog we’ll give you the time, dates and venues for the Irish womens football team World Cup, as well as a breakdown of their group stage opponents.
Ireland Womens Football Fixtures Group B
Australia v Republic of Ireland
11am (Irish time) in the Allianz Stadium
Canada v Republic of Ireland
1pm (Irish time) in nib Stadium.
Republic of Ireland v Nigeria
11am (Irish time) in Suncorp Stadium
Ireland Womens Football Fixtures: World Cup Opponents
World Ranking: 12
Star player: Sam Kerr
Manager: Tony Gustavsson
As co-hosts of the tournament with New Zealand, Australia were automatically placed in Group B and didn’t have to go through a qualification route.
Nicknamed ‘The Matildas’, they have also never made it past the quarter-final stage.
Their biggest threat is their captain, the talismatic Sam Kerr who is also their all-time leading goal scorer.
The Chelsea star is the only female footballer to have won the Golden Boot in three different leagues and three different continents – The W-League (Australia/New Zealand), the NWSL (North America) and the FAWSL (Europe).
They also boast other WSL stars such as Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord and Man City’s Hayley Raso.
World Ranking: 6
Star Player: Christine Sinclair
Coach: Bev Priestman
The Canadians are most likely to top the group and are a serious World Cup contender after winning the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
They managed to go through 2022 unbeaten, with the exception of a 1-0 loss to reigning world champions and neighbours the USA.
Their captain, Christine Sinclair, is the world’s all-time leader in international goals scored across the mens and womens game with 190 after 300 caps!
Sinclair has also scored at five World Cups and is a 14-time winner of the Canada Soccer Player of the Year.
They are stacked with WSL players, such as Man United winger Adriana Leon, Chelsea duo Jessie Fleming and Shelina Zadorsky, along with Spurs defender Kadeisha Buchanan.
World Ranking: 45
Star Player: Asisat Oshoala
Coach: Randy Waldrum
A former powerhouse of African women’s football, Nigeria come into the tournament in poor form.
A fourth place finish at the last Africa Cup of Nations was deemed a very result – considering they won 11 of the previous 13 tournaments it’s easy to see why.
But there is no doubting that they have some really quality, none more than Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala.
Regarded as one of the greatest African female footballers of all time, she has won a record 5 African Footballer of the Year awards.
Last year, she was nominated for the Ballon d’Or after a season where she won the Primera Division’s Golden Boot, and a year after winning the Champions League.
To find out more about the Republic of Ireland womens team, check out our Ultimate Guide to the Players right HERE.
Vera Pauw has just named her final squad for the World Cup and there were some shock announcements to say the least.
So lets have a look at the full squad and then we’ll drill down into some of the players.
American-born Brosnan was one of the heroines of Ireland’s win over Scotland, saving a second half penalty from Real Madrid star Caroline Weir.
She has amassed 11 caps for Ireland and kept clean sheets in 9 of those, the former West Ham star will be a hugely important cog in the wheel for Ireland’s World Cup chances.
Moloney has been a consistent player for Reading FC, helping the team secure promotion to the FA Women’s Super League in the 2020-2021 season.
Born in Slough, England she made her international debut for the Republic of Ireland in 2016 and has since become an integral part of the Women’s National Team squad.
On December 1, 2020, at Tallaght Stadium, Moloney made her debut under Vera Pauw in a crucial UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 qualifying match against Germany. Pauw praised Moloney’s performance as “fantastic” despite Ireland’s 3-1 loss.
Club: Brighton & Hove Albion
After playing here youth football with England, It was revealed that Walsh, had switched her allegiance to Ireland, becoming eligible due to the fact that her grandfather was born in Wexford, and after failing to be called up for the England senior team.
She was called up for Ireland’s matches against Slovakia and Georgia in the Women’s World Cup qualifying round last year. On February 19, 2022, during Ireland’s 1-0 loss to Russia at the 2022 Pinatar Cup, Walsh received her maiden international call-up and first cap.
Club: Florida State Seminoles
Payne, a native of Roscommon, originally attracted people’s attention when she was playing minor soccer with Salthill Devon. She then advanced fast through the underage ranks at the international level.
She competed for Ireland at the UEFA Women’s Under-17 European Championships in Iceland in 2015, and in a friendly match against Scotland in July 2017, she made her senior debut.
In the April 2021 friendly loss to Belgium by a score of 1-0, Heather was recognised as the Player of the Match.
The Galway native is one of the most experienced players in the squad, having earned 106 caps and being named Senior International Player on three occasions.
Fahey has a wealth of experience, winning every honour in the English game with Arsenal before moving to Chelsea and winning the league and cup double.
Also a prominent Gaelic footballer in her past, Vera Pauw will be looking to Fahey to bring all her experience to the fore this year for the Ireland women’s soccer team.
Club: Birmingham City
One of the star’s of the team, the Birmingham City captain earned her 99th cap against Scotland.
A native of Wicklow, the former Peamount, Arsenal and Fiorentina player has scored an impressive 15 goals for her country.
She was also named the 2021-22 Signing of the Season in the FA WSL by The Guardian, finishing as Birmingham’s top goalscorer, as a defender, but could do nothing more as they got relegated to the second tier.
Caldwell has experienced top level football all over the world, with the likes of FC Koln in Germany, North Carolina Courage in the USA, Avaldsnes IL in Norway and Manchester United and Reading in England.
The Balbriggan defender is comfortable in midfield or defence and lined out against Scotland replacing the injured Savannah McCarthy.
However, she still remains an important player.
Club: Bristol City
Mustaki was the captain of the Women’s Under-19 squad that advanced to the semi-finals of the 2014 UEFA European Championships in Norway.
After receiving a Lymphoma diagnosis, Mustaki heroically overcame it to return to football, playing for Peamount United, UCD Waves, and Shelbourne in the Women’s National League and competing at the World University Games.
She was called up to the Ireland senior squad in March 2020 thanks to her time with Charlton Athletic, but she injured her ACL during training.
Mustaki would need two years to heal before making her senior debut in the Pinatar Cup match against Russia in February 2022, which Russia won 1-0.
Club: Shamrock Rovers
Aine joined the Republic of Ireland women’s soccer squad when she was just 16 years old in 2006, and she remained on the team until she retired from international competition in 2018.
Under the direction of manager Vera Pauw, the versatile player, who spent the majority of her career as a striker, did make a comeback to the senior squad line up in 2020 as a full-back.
Aine led Ireland for the first time in 2015, and in 2016 she contributed a hat-trick to their historic victory over Montenegro.
Club: Brighton and Hove Albion
A Cork native, Megan comes from a family steeped in sport, particularly GAA with her being the brother of Cork star Luke Connolly.
Connolly, an attacking-minded midfielder with excellent skill, excelled during her time at Florida State University and was selected to the NSCAA First-Team All American in 2015.
In 2019, she signed up with Brighton & Hove Albion. Her first senior goal came against Montenegro in 2016; her second, against Finland in 2021, was directly off a free kick.
O’Riordan never represented Ireland at the youth level, but at the 2016 Cyprus Women’s Cup, against Hungary, she earned her maiden senior cap.
A defender, who is also comfortable in attack, she spent her first five years of her senior career with Wexford Youths in the Irish Women’s National League before agreeing to a professional deal with MSV Duisburg in the German Frauen-Bundesliga.
In August 2022, O’Riordan signed a contract with Celtic following four years in Germany.
Club: West Ham United
The Dublin born defender was first named in a Republic of Ireland squad at the tender age of 16 before making her first start in a 1–0 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying defeat in Norway in June 2018.
The former Shelbourne and Celtic was predominately a winger in her early part of her career, but has been transformed into an attacking full back.
Pauw will certainly be looking to utilise her in this role as she also has an eye for a goal.
Club: London City Lionesses
The English born midfielder qualifies for Ireland through her Cork-born Grandmother and made her debut in the squad in April 2021.
Agg scored the winner against Finland on her home debut to help Ireland secure that all-important Play-Off spot against Scotland.
Arriving off the bench after an injury to Ruesha Littlejohn, Agg headed home the winning goal.
Club: North Carolina Courage
A midfield maestro who is only of the Republic of Ireland’s most important players and one of the top players in the National Women’s Soccer League where she plys her trade with North Carolina Courage.
The Cork native joined Glasgow City in June 2013, and in both the 2013–14 and 2014–15 seasons, she helped the team reach the Women’s Champions League’s round of 16 and final eight.
Denise immigrated to the US and began her career with the Houston Dash before switching to the North Carolina Courage, where she received Team MVP honors twice in consecutive championship seasons.
Captain fantastic and a genuine world-class star at Arsenal who has propelled her name onto the game’s biggest stages.
After signing with Arsenal in 2015, she has won the FA Cup, league title and was named on the PFA Team of the Year in 2021.
The Dublin star was named the youngest ever captain of the Ireland women’s soccer team in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since, scoring 18 goals in 70 appearances.
Club: Aston Villa
Ruesha, a swift and lethal finisher, had represented Scotland the youth level but choose to represent Ireland at senior.
Had a brief stint at Liverpool and scored her first goal for the senior team in the 5-1 Cyprus Cup victory over Northern Ireland.
She’s also played with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, London Bees, Leicester City and Birmingham City.
Club: Heart of Midlothian
The talented Donegal native is a qualified doctor and has worked as a lecturer in the Royal College of Surgeons.
However, she will now be focusing on her football for the foreseeable with a huge task ahead of her.
Grant earned her senior international debut against the United States’ 5-0 friendly defeat in 2012. She was placed in an unfamiliar right-back position by then team coach Sue Ronan.
In June 2021, Vera Pauw called Grant back to the national squad after she performed well for Shelbourne and made another appearance on November 30, 2021, in UEFA Group A’s 11-0 victory against Georgia to qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Club: NJ/NY Gotham FC
Born and raised in Pennsylvania to to an Irish father, she initially represented her country of birth the youth level before switching to represent the Republic of Ireland senior national team in 2023.
She earned her first senior international cap with Ireland on April 8, 2023, by starting and playing 60 minutes in a friendly against the United States senior team and brings real experience to the Irish set up.
Club: Birmingham City
Quinn has had an impressive career in English football, notably with Birmingham City Women, where she has consistently contributed with goals and assists.
She made her international debut in 2015 and has been a valuable attacking option for the Women’s National Team having previously represented Great Britain at the 2017 World University Games where she won the golden boot award for most goals scored.
Her speed, technical ability, and goal-scoring instincts make her a threat to opponents.
Club: FFC Turbine Potsdam
The scorer of that now famous goal that sent her country to the World Cup for the first time ever.
The Donegal star arrived off the bench in the 65th minute delivered when it was needed the most and etched her name in the Ireland women’s soccer team’s history.
Pauw and her team will be hoping for more of her magic come World Cup time.
Club: London City Lionesses
Carusa made her debut for the Women’s National Team in 2021 and has since proven to be a promising forward.
Her ability to score goals and attacking prowess has clearly impressed Pauw and was enough to convince her to bring her to the World Cup, scoring 30 goals in 51 appearances for HB Køge between 2020-2023.
Club: Washington Spirit
Sheva alerted the FAI to her eligibility for the Republic of Ireland women’s national football team and was called up to a training camp in Marbella in February 2023.
Her maternal grandparents came from Donegal and Tyrone.
Sheva won her first cap as a half-time substitute for Abbie Larkin in a 0–0 friendly draw with China, on 22 February 2023,
In April 2023 Sheva started Ireland’s next two fixtures, both against the United States. Sheva played on the left wing, having made her debut on the right wing.
Coach Vera Pauw said the team’s and Sheva’s performance in advance of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was encouraging despite the fact that they lost both games.
Club: Shamrock Rovers
One of the youngest players on the squad, Larkin received her first call-up to the senior Republic of Ireland team in February 2022, just in time for the Pinatar Cup in Murcia, but needed her parents’ approval before skipping school to go on the trip!
She was given her maiden cap on February 19, 2022, in a 1-0 loss to Russia and later replaced Kyra Carusa at halftime in a 1-0 victory over Wales.
During the 9-0 victory over Georgia at Gori on June 27, 2022, Larkin scored her first goal for Ireland on the occasion of her fourth cap with Vera Pauw commenting: “I hope that everyone has seen how talented she is.”
Club: Birmingham City
Finn’s versatility is a huge asset and will see her play in a wing back or defensive midfielder role.
The Dublin born star received what she felt was a surprise call up to the squad for Ireland’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 qualifier against Greece back in 2019 and impressed during a 1-1 draw.
Her performance that day propelled her confidence and she went from strength to strength, eventually earning a professional contract with Birmingham City where she still plays.
We hope this blog has given you more insight into the : Ireland women’s soccer team ahead of the much-anticipated World Cup.
Intersport Elverys, as proud Retail Partners of the FAI, will be there every step of the way.
Stay tuned for more content or check out the FAI Women’s Range below.
Republic of Ireland National Football Team Players (4-1-4-1)
Goalkeeper: Shay Given
Plenty of competition for the number one jersey, but it’s hard to look past Donegal native Given.
The former Newcastle United, Manchester City and Aston Villa star was one of the Premier League’s stand out goalkeepers for two decades and won a FA Cup with Man City in 2011.
Given also made the 2001/02 and the 2005/06 PFA Team of the Year – again showing why he is considered one of the Premier League greats.
He kept 52 Irish clean sheets and 113 in his 451 Premier League appearances.
His cat-like reflex saves were often an act of genius.
Right Back: Seamus Coleman
Another Donegal native on the team and the only modern-day footballer to make the cut and has kept out the likes of Steven Finan and Gary Kelly.
Since signing for Everton from Sligo Rovers in 2009, Coleman has established himself as one of the club’s all-time greats and one of the Premier League’s best ever right backs.
Coleman has crossed paths and kept tabs with some of the best players in world football – Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard to name a few – and has never looked out of place.
After suffering a bad broken leg for Ireland in March 2017, Coleman displayed his typical admirable resolve to get back to his best the following years.
Pacey, stylish and the stamina of a racehorse, Coleman showed all his qualities as he helped Everton to avoid the drop in 2022.
Frank Lampard and Carlo Ancelloti are on record giving the Irishman the very height of praise.
Left Back: Denis Irwin
No more than Coleman, there was some serious competition for this position.
But when all is said and done, Denis Irwin is simply untouchable from an Irish defensive point of view.
Even Steve Staunton and Ian Harte wouldn’t be able to threaten Irwin’s place on this ultimate XI.
The Cork man is best remember for a stellar and trophy laden 12-year career at Manchester United, finishing with seven Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and European Cup Winners.
Plus the Holy Grail – the Champions League in 1999.
Some of you may not know that Irwin is actually naturally right-footed too, but preferred the left back position.
He was like a modern-day attacking full back but with a supreme defensive ability. While his free kicks were sensational too.
The best full back in Premier League history?
Centre Back: Paul McGrath
Any Irish football fan knows how much of an enigma the great Paul McGrath is.
Despite battling knee injuries and alcoholism throughout his career, McGrath is considered one of the all-time greats in Irish football history.
A stylish, tough-tackling centre back, McGrath could also easily mix it up in midfield too.
He is one of only six defenders in history to win the PFA Players Player of the Year award during his Premier League career that was spent at Aston Villa and Manchester United.
His titanic performance against Italy at the World Cup 1994 in the USA stamped in his name forever in the upper echelons of Republic of Ireland national football team players.
One of the real greats.
Centre Back: Richard Dunne
Completing the back four wasn’t easy.
In one breath you could make an argument for John O’Shea whose trophy cabinet speaks for itself, while Steve Staunton is also an obvious choice.
But for us, Richard Dunne gets jersey because on his day, his no-holds-barred defensive style was simply outstanding.
McGrath will have all the poise and Dunne will do the ugly work.
And we don’t mean that as an insult. Dunne was a rock at the back for Manchester City, Everton and Aston Villa.
A former PFA Team of the Year defender, Dunne’s performance against Russa in the Euro 2012 Qualifiers was sensational.
Defensive Midfielder: Roy Keane
The first name on the team sheet and the captain – without question.
Before we start with the equipment, it’s important to know the benefits of kids getting involved football training.
It’s amazing what it does for their development.
Like any other physically demanding sport, football is great for your kids health. It will keep them in good shape, boost their stamina and get them exercising regularly.
The Value of Teamwork
Communication skills are so important in football and your kid will learn how to cooperate and work with their teammates.
Encourage Mental Resilience
Your kid is not going to win every game, every race or every drill, no matter how talented they are. So learning to cope with defeat and disappointment, as well as success, is a great lesson for the future.
Better Social Skills
When training with a group, getting involved in a team, your kid will make new friends and meet new people, learning conversation and communication along the way.
Whether training on their own or with their team, kids love playing football and games. Whether it’s scoring a free kick in their back garden and pretending to be their favourite footballer, or doing it in front of their friends, the joy can be unrivalled.
Kids’ Football Training Equipment: Football Cones
One of the most simple but important pieces of kids football training equipment are cones.
Football cones are great to set up and let your kid work on their dribbling skills, mark out boxes or grids or some targets for their passing.
They are cheap, cheerful and easy to carry around.
Kids’ Football Training Equipment: Goalposts
Absolutely key for your kids to practice their shooting or goalkeeping.
These pop up goals are lightweight and easy to
Plus, the amount of fun they will have simply kicking goals and points for hours on end is incredible.
Get two, and you will be able to hold fun games for your kids’ friends too.