Republic of Ireland defender Claire Walsh believes playing in the Women's National League is no barrier to her international ambitions.

The Peamount United star hadn't featured under Vera Pauw until playing 86 minutes of Sunday night's 1-0 friendly defeat to Belgium but she is encouraged by the fact that five of the 24-player squad were based in Ireland - Walsh, her club-mate Áine O'Gorman, Wexford youngster Ellen Molloy and Shelbourne pair Jamie Finn and Emily Whelan - while 11 more had come through the WNL.

"It has been a long road but it's been great to get a start and get a few minutes," the 26-year-old said after winning her third cap and first since September 2019.

"I think the last couple of games have showed that players playing in the Women's National League are capable of stepping up to the level. It's a credit to the Women's National League and the clubs.

"It shows the importance of the league, we need to keep developing it and keep getting players. Even players that are still playing in it are capable of coming into this team and doing a job.

"For now, I'm really happy at Peamount and you can see, with the likes of Aine, a lot of really good players have come through the league and are still there."

Sunday's narrow defeat mirrored the scoreline against Denmark last Thursday but Walsh is convinced Ireland are on the right track.

"We created a lot of chances, which was the main thing," she said.

"I thought we were defensively solid as well, we just need to start scoring."

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