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Team spirit key for Ireland Under-19s

Updated: Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 10:28 | Comments

Dave Connell and Megan Connolly
Dave Connell and Megan Connolly

Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-19s boss Dave Connell believes team spirit can be the key ingredient for his side's UEFA European Championships semi-final clash with Netherlands on Thursday evening.

Ireland won Group B at the competition by beating Spain, England and Sweden and will play their semi-final against the Dutch at Mjondalen Stadium near Oslo in Norway (6pm, Irish Time).

Speaking on FAI.ie ahead of the clash, Ireland head coach Connell said: "We've got a lot of very good players and what we do have that other countries would love to have is a great team spirit.

"They get on well together and work together on and off the pitch, which is great.”

Ireland’s performances in this tournament have put them ahead of schedule, according to Connell.

He added: “I took over three years ago and we set about building a team that would challenge for the European Championships within four years.

So we did that a year early and we've really progressed with this group of girls, who come from around the entire country.”

A win would set up a clash with hosts Norway or Spain in the final, but Ireland are not looking past this evening’s match. But hopes are high with Ireland having earned a draw away from home the last time the sides met.

Connell said: “It has been a great start for us at these finals, but we're fully focused on the Netherlands now. We played them in the Elite Phase qualifiers in the Netherlands, so we know all about them and will be fully prepared going into the game.

"While it's been great so far, we're not ready to go home just yet. We want to reach the final and win the tournament, but looking past the Netherlands would be foolish. They are a very good team and they will know they are in a game when we take them on."

Ireland have a full squad to choose from with striker Clare Shine back to full fitness having overcome a neck problem.

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