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UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship
New edition gets under way
The first qualifying round of the 2004/05 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship gets under way this week.
Forty nations were divided into ten groups of four teams for the first qualifying round draw. The eventual group winners, runners-up and the six best third-placed teams will progress to the second qualifying round, where they will join Germany and Norway, the two highest-ranked teams and Hungary, the hosts.
All eyes will be on Spain, who produced one of the great shocks in the history of UEFA competition to defeat Germany in this summer's final in Helsinki. Ignacio Quereda's team open their campaign on 28 September against F.Y.R. Macedonia, the same day as the Czech Republic tackle Northern Ireland in Group 10's other fixture.
Finland qualified automatically as hosts for the 2003/04 final tournament, but will have to negotiate the qualifying stages this time around. The Finns are in Group 8 along with Serbia and Montenegro, Portugal and Slovakia.
Despite falling at the first hurdle in Finland, France are again likely to be among the teams to beat in Hungary. First, however, they will have to get past Denmark, Azerbaijan and Lithuania in Group 3 and then the second qualifying round. Perhaps the most eye-catching game of this stage is Italy versus Sweden, with Estonia and Armenia completing Group 7.
First Qualifying Round
| Group 1 || Group 2 || Group 3 || Group 4 || Group 5
| Austria || Belarus || Denmark || Wales || Israel |
| Netherlands || Ukraine || France || England || Russia |
| Slovenia || Moldova || Azerbaijan || Romania || Kazakhstan |
| Bosnia-Herzegovina || Scotland || Lithuania || Bulgaria || Latvia || Group 6 || Group 7 || Group 8 || Group 9 || Group 10
| Switzerland || Italy || Finland || Belgium || Czech Republic |
| Iceland || Sweden || Serbia and Montenegro || Poland || Spain |
| Greece || Armenia || Portugal || Croatia || Northern Ireland |
| Republic of Ireland || Estonia || Slovakia || Faroe Islands || F.Y.R. Macedonia |
Feature: Road To Hungary 2005 Begins
The first qualifying group phase for the UEFA Women’s 2005 Under 19’s European Championships are set to kick off this week and here at femaleSOCCER.net we will be focussing on Group 4 of the competition, which is being held in Yorkshire and sees two home countries in Wales and England going head to head, alongside Bulgaria and Romania. We’ve been talking to Everton and England Under 19’s manager Mo Marley.
How It WorksSpain are the current holders of the competition following a surprise victory over Germany in the 2004 final held in Helsinki, Finland. As the two highest ranked teams, Germany and Norway automatically qualify for phase two, whilst the remaining teams have been drawn into ten groups. Teams within each group will compete against each other once. Only the team finishing top of the group progresses into the next qualifying round. Group 4 of phase one will commence on 28th September and run till 2nd October. Phase two follows a similar system taking place in April 2005, where by the group winners then qualify to play in the 2005 summer finals held in Hungary.
PreparationFormer England captain Mo Marley is more than satisfied with her teams preparation for phase one of the Under 19’s European Championship qualifying campaign.
“We got the girls together at the West Riding Football Association five days before our first fixture and we’ve been working hard since then to ensure we’re ready. We had a training camp in August as well and have created a great spirit amongst the squad. I think we’re ready”.
ExpectationsEngland u19’s coach Mo Marley believes the importance for her team in winning Group 4 cannot be underestimated.
“The girls know that if they want to play more football at this level and extend their u19 careers then winning through this stage is essential. If we fail to win the group then when the tournament comes around next year, many players will be too old to participate and will have to miss out”.
“We don’t put pressure on the girls, this is something they should be enjoying, but it is in their own interests to qualify. Playing more games at this level will boost their experience which is invaluable to their development. We have a young group here and the average age is just over 17. I’m confident that we will do well”.
OppositionEngland’s Group 4 fixtures are from easy with tough matches against Bulgaria, Romania and finishes with a British derby against Wales. However, coach Mo Marley is concentrating on her own side.
“We can’t focus too much on the other teams. Every year at this level the players change, so it’s hard to look at the opposition in detail. You can’t influence what others do. We have to be confident that our own international structure works. The right format is in place at all levels for England now”.
Ideal ScenarioMo Marley has already guided some of English football’s leading women through the international ranks, including Katie Chapman, Fara Williams and Amanda Barr. She’s confident that other future stars are within her current crop of players.
“We’re blessed with talent at this level and the strength of talent coming through gets better every year. Some of these girls here now may well go on to represent the senior side at some point and if you just take a look at the u17’s then it’s clear more talent is on the way through”.
“At the end of an ideal week, we’ll have qualified. In addition, the girls will have a better understanding of international matches and we’ll have played some quality football”.
The North With the 2005 Women’s European Championships taking place in the North of England, the Group 4 qualifying stage fixtures for the u19’s held in the Yorkshire region, should help to generate extra interest in the sport within the area.
“It’s nice to host the group. We’ve had to play most of these previous group games abroad, so it will be a great experience for the girls to play in front of a home crowd. They’ll be extra media attention, playing with bigger attendances and all this will be good for them. We’re looking forward to it”.
Ronan names Ireland Womens Under 19 squad
The Republic of Ireland Under 19 Women’s Team Manager, Susan Ronan, has finalised her selection for the second phase qualifying tournament for the 2005 UEFA Women’s Under 19 Championships.
The squad shows five changes from the squad which came through the first qualifying phase unbeaten last September. Goalkeeper Carol Gunner and midfielder Kirsty O’Sullivan, who both missed the September tournament due to late injuries, are restored to the squad. New faces include Tara MacMahon who plays her football in Toulouse, Mary Barrett (Ballincollig) and Seana Cooke (Raheny Utd).
The squad travels to Spain next Sunday to play in what is possibly the most difficult Phase 2 group. Their first match is against Croatia on Tuesday 26th April (KO 5.00pm local time), they then take on Spain – current holders, on Thursday 28th April (KO 7.00pm local time). The final match is against France, 2003 winners - on Saturday 30th April (KO 12.00 noon local time).
The Irish squad is not without experience with four players having already been capped at senior level – Kacey O’Driscoll, Kariena Richards, Susan Byrne and Katie Taylor. While Niamh Fahey, winner of an All Ireland GAA medal with Galway last November, has also plenty of experience of big sporting occasions.
Despite the difficulties of the challenge Susan, along with her coaches, Darren Murray and Gerard Dunne are hoping that the squad deliver the goods and qualify for the finals in Hungary later in the summer.
Republic of Ireland Under 19 Women’s Squad
Mary Barrett (Douglas Hall); Susan Byrne (St John’s University): Carol Breen (Benfica); Seana Cooke (Raheny Utd); Diane Caldwell (Raheny Utd); Susan Donovan (Ballincollig); Niamh Fahey (Salthill Devon); Aine Genockey (St James Gate); Carol Gunner (Evergreen); Sara Lawlor (Peamount Utd); Edel Malone (Lifford); Tara MacMahon (Toulouse); Eilis Nevin (Knock/Kiltimagh); Kacey O’Driscoll (University of Limerick); Kirsty O’Sullivan (Watford Ladies FC); Kariena Richards (Ballincollig); Nicola Sinnott (Parkville); Katie Taylor (St James Gate).
Manager: Susan Ronan
Ireland V Finland Womens Friendlies
The Irish Women’s Under 19 squad recorded an impressive 3-2 victory over Finland in Richmond Park on Friday night
This match was the first of a double header of friendlies against Finland, which formed part of the preparation for the Irish squad’s participation in Phase 1 of the 2005/2006 UEFA Women’s U19 Championships in Estonia next month.
It was always expected that the Finns would prove tough opposition, particularly since they finished in the top four of the 2004/05 competition played in Hungary last month. On the night, however, the Irish team were full value for their win with some fine play particularly from the emerging younger players in the squad.
The starting eleven contained nine players who had previously appeared at this level for Ireland in the course of last year’s competition. The two newcomers were Paula Murray from Kells and Carla Mulligan from Stockport County. Murray made a dramatic impact on the game scoring the opening goal after five minutes of play with a stunning strike from twenty yards out. This was cancelled out two minutes later by Hartikainen from Finland. On 35 minutes, Sara Lawlor, who worked tirelessly over the course of the match, put the Irish team ahead once again before the half time break.
Manager Susan Ronan introduced four substitutes at the beginning of the second half, giving debuts to Meabh de Burca, Grace Murray, Jennifer Cook and Aine O’Gorman. The Finns had the better of the opening exchanges, capitalising on a defensive error to equalise in the 48th minute. Despite this setback, however, the Irish settled well and dominated possession for most of the half. They got their reward in the 67th minute when substitute Stephanie Roche (another debutante) scored from an acute angle.
Irish Squad: Aine Genockey (Shamrock Rovers), Seana Cooke (Raheny), Niamh Fahey (Salthill Devon), Eilis Nevin (Dundalk City), Kylie Murphy (Parkville), Nicola Sinnott (Ballagh), Clara Mulligan (Stockport County), Sarah McGrath (Peamount), Sara Lawlor (Peamount), Susan Donovan (Ballincollig), Paula Murray (Kells)
Subs used: Jennifer Cook (Marlay Rangers) for Genockey (45’); Meabh de Burca (Salthill Devon) for Mulligan (45’); Aine O’Gorman (Stella Maris) for Donovan (45’); Grace Murray (Dundalk City) for Murphy (45’); Diane Caldwell (Raheny Utd) for Cooke (50); Aoife Herbert (Ballina Town) for Murray (58’); Stephanie Roche (Stella Maris) for Lawlor (61)
Ireland v Finland, Sunday 21st August 2005, AUL (ko 10.00am)
Result: Ireland 0-2 Finland
The Finnish team, having been on the back foot for most of the match on Friday night, earned their revenge with a two nil victory over the Irish at Clonshaugh this morning. Both goals were scored from set play in the first quarter of an hour. And it really was only after the second goal that the Irish team settled into the match.
The Finns worked hard to keep possession and moved the ball well around the park. Showing a physical presence that had been lacking on Friday they dominated proceedings for much of the first half. The second half saw the Irish team press hard to some good effect with chances for Grace Murray, Sara Lawlor and Noelle Murray to score. Despite their efforts, however, the Finnish goalkeeper was not really troubled and the match finished 0-2 in favour of the Finns.
The Irish team Manager, Susan Ronan was disappointed at the result but said that the two matches had proved very worthwhile preparation for the tournament in Estonia.
Irish Squad: Irish Squad: Aine Genockey (Shamrock Rovers), Seana Cooke (Raheny), Grace Murraly (Dundalk City), Eilis Nevin (Dundalk City), Aisling Egan (Bealnamulla), Clara Mulligan (Stockport County), Sarah McGrath (Peamount), Meabh de Burca (Salthill Devon) Sara Lawlor (Peamount), Aine O’Gorman (Stella Maris), Paula Murray (Kells)
Subs used: Laura Traynor (Shamrock Rovers) for O’Gorman (45’); Nicola Sinnott (Ballagh) for Mulligan (45’); Jennifer Critchley (Lifford) for de Burca (45’); Diane Caldwell (Raheny Utd) for Murray (45’); Kylie Murphy for Cooke (45’); Stephanie Roche (Stella Maris) for McGrath (60’); Mary Barrett (Douglas Hall) for Murray (75’); Noelle Murray (St Anthonys) for Lawlor (75’); Lynn Marie Grant (Lifford) for Egan (84’)
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