Ellen Molloy had only just turned 16 when she was first called up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad in August 2020.

Vera Pauw brought the exciting Wexford Youths attacker into her group ahead of the Euro 2021 qualifier clash against Germany.

Reflecting on that call-up now, Molloy admits it was a daunting experience. She stepped back to Dave Connell's Under-19s panel for a period where she excelled, while also shining for her club.

After tearing her hamstring in Youths' FAI Cup final win against Shelbourne last November, Molloy missed the 2023 World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and Georgia, but she started in Saturday night's 1-0 Pinata Cup defeat to Russia.

A disappointing result, but precious game time - and experience.

"When I was in the first Ireland camp I kind of lost a bit of confidence," said Molloy.

"I went back with the [U19] girls and went back to basics. We've a really close bond in the team. I found my feet again, got my head right, went back to Wexford and everything kind of clicked. Kylie [Murphy] and I started linking up well and we finished the season strong."

"I got a taste of what the level is like."

Molloy was terrific in the cup final and unfortunate to pick up her injury right at the end of Youths' 3-1 win at Tallaght Stadium.

Her development has been steady and impressive. Having often found herself coming off the bench desperate to make an impression, Molloy was happy to get a start in La Manga, Spain - where the Pinatar Cup is being played.

"Russia were tough, but it was nice to get a start and have time to get my touch and get into the game rather than just coming on for a few minutes and trying to have an impact," she said.

"Once we settled into the game we started playing football. I thought it was a good performance.

"I tore my hamstring in the cup final... I was delighted when I got the call-up again. I'll work hard and hopefully it will continue.

"I haven't really had too many pre-season games because of the hamstring; I was just coming back, so it's nice to come here get a bit of game time with the seniors to get a bit sharper before the season."

Ireland have a third place play-off against Wales on Tuesday, with Molloy adding: "Any bit of advice the senior girls give me, I really take it on board, absorb any information that I get and try and bring it back to the club.

"I got a taste of what the level is like. I'm looking forward to pushing on and hopefully getting a few more starts."