McCabe says Ireland can kick on without permanent boss

by Dave Donnelly

Ireland captain Katie McCabe is unconcerned that the Girls in Green will head into the qualifying campaign for Euro 2021 in England next month, without a permanent manager.

Colin Bell departed for Huddersfield Town’s men team last month and left the Irish team without a coach at the helm on the eve of their opening qualifier at home to Montenegro next month.

The FAI have held two rounds of interviews for the vacant position, but the lead candidates, former England boss Hope Powell and Maren Meinert, dropped out.

That left Tom O’Connor, Bell’s assistant, in charge for the 3-0 friendly defeat to World Cup champions the United States in California last month.

O’Connor will once again take the reins when Ireland welcome a Montenegro side they’d ordinarily be expected to beat comfortably to Tallaght on September 5th.

McCabe, who was made captain at the age of 21 upon Bell’s accession two years ago, knows the value of a good coach having thrived in the past year under Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro.

The Kilnamanagh native feels it’s more important the authorities take their time and make the right appointment, rather than rushing into action ahead of the qualifiers.

“I think the FAI are taking the right amount of time needed to find the best person for us to take us forward,” said McCabe.

“I would be happy for it to take an extra two weeks, rather than rushing it and getting someone in a week.

“Before Colin came in, that was a long process as well. And this will be a long process too because they want to find the right guy.

“You need to look at all aspects, how the new manager wants to take the team forward, the style of play, everything has to come into consideration.

“How we can build the game, not just at international level but grassroots level, Women’s National League, everything is important so I am happy they didn’t just rush in and appoint someone.”

McCabe is glad to see the return of international football as Ireland, like all nations, look to capitalise on the interest generated by the summer’s World Cup.

The opportunity to play at the Rose Bowl in California, where the final of the 1994 men’s World Cup was played, against the US was a major opportunity despite a negative scoreline.

“That was my third time playing them and each time I’ve seen an improvement. The first two times I played them, we’ve fallen short in physicality.

“I know the result maybe says otherwise, but we matched them for the whole 90 minutes, comparing them to the Netherlands game.

“We’re more capable of getting a result against Germany and Ukraine, we’ve every opportunity to go to England in 2021.”

Coinciding with Pride in June, McCabe revealed she’s in a relationship with her Ireland teammate Ruesha Littlejohn and she hasn’t received any blowback or bigotry as a result.

“I think Ireland has definitely moved since where it was back in the day, obviously the referendum and that. It was a great day and I was proud to be part of it.

“I didn’t scream and shout about before, didn’t feel the need to, before the launch. It’s all positive, I guess.”

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