Ireland women’s soccer team created history last year after qualifying for their first ever World Cup with a historic win over Scotland in Hampden Park.
A second half goal from Amber Barrett proved enough for Vera Pauw’s side to book their tickets to Australia and New Zealand this year.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup is going to be a memorable moment in Irish sporting history, but just who are the team going to the World Cup?
As proud Official Retail Partners of the FAI, we’re going to delve a bit deeper into the team in this blog.
We can’t wait for the World Cup, especially since Republic of Ireland will be facing the hosts, Australia, in the World Cup opener!
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? 😊
Ireland Women’s Soccer Team – The Players
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.