Republic of Ireland women’s national team manager Sue Ronan has named a squad of 18 players for the final two FIFA World Cup qualifying games away to Slovakia and Germany.
Ireland still have an outside chance of finishing second in Group 1 but they must beat Slovakia and Germany and then hope that Russia pick up no more than one point from their final two games at home to Germany and away to Croatia.
“We are five points behind Russia so it’s a tall order but it gives something to play for and we will be trying to get six points and see what happens,” said Ronan.
“Our win over Slovenia took us to 14 points, which is our best total ever from a World Cup qualifying tournament, and we are obviously looking to finish with more than that.
“It won’t be easy. Slovakia are another tough team and, if anything, have become harder to break down as qualifying has progressed.
"We deserved to get a point from the home game against Germany and I am sure they will be eager to show that was a blip on their part.
"But the girls were great that day and if we can produce a similar type of performance we can get something out of that game.”
Ronan has reduced the squad of 20 that was on duty for last month’s win over Slovenia to 18 for the trip.
Seana Cooke is unavailable due to work commitments while Grace Moloney and Ciara Grant have been put on stand-by.
Megan Campbell, who has been out since April with a broken foot, returns after missing four games.
“It’s great to have Megan available again as she gives us plenty of options. She is back playing with Florida State University and has done well in their games to date,” said Ronan.
Having seen her side pick up seven points from their last three games, Ronan is keen to see her side finish with a flourish and bring that form into Saturday week’s game against Slovakia.
“We have responded very well to the defeat at home to Russia and, as well as beating Croatia and Slovenia and drawing away to Russia, we have kept three clean-sheets which is encouraging. We know we now need to start scoring more goals and we will certainly be working on that in training,” she said.
The match against Slovakia takes place on Saturday 13 September, at the Slovakia Football Federation’s National Training Centre in Senec (2.30pm Irish time) while the game against Germany will be played on Wednesday 17 September in the Albstadion, Heidenheim (5.30pm Irish time),
Goalkeepers: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Niamh Reid-Burke (Raheny United). Defenders: Áine O’Gorman (UCD Waves), Sophie Perry (Millwall), Meabh de Burca (Galway WFC), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United), Niamh Fahey (Arsenal), Karen Duggan (UCD Waves), Megan Campbell (Florida State University). Midfielders: Julie Ann Russell (UCD Waves), Siobhan Killeen (Raheny United), Dora Gorman (UCD Waves), Diane Caldwell (Avaldsnes), Shannon Smyth (Amazon Grimstad). Forwards: Fiona O’Sullivan (Notts County), Denise O’Sullivan (Glasgow City), Stephanie Roche (ASPTT Albi), Ruesha Littlejohn (Sandviken).