Cork City FC are strongly represented in the Irish International U17 Women’s Side ahead of European Championship qualifiers taking place in Norway over the coming week. Maebh Russell, Ellie O’Brien, and Heidi Mackin all travelled to Norway on Thursday ahead of games against Hungary on Saturday 9th (1pm), Bulgaria on Tuesday 12th (1pm), and hosts Norway on Friday 15th (4pm).
Cork City WU17 Manager Sarah Healy knows the three girls as well as anyone and is absolutely delighted for them “We are very proud of the players, it is an honour to represent your country and this is definitely an honour that Ellie, Heidi and Maebh deserve. These players are a pleasure to coach, great people as well as great player.”
We sat down Heidi Mackin on her hopes for the week ahead and the recent training camp in Portugal, where she made her U17 debut and scored the winner to cap a fine 1-0 win against Portugal. “It was great to get the goal in Portugal”, Heidi recalled, “and to score after winning my first cap was brilliant”. A year younger than many of her fellow U17 squad members, Heidi had been on standby before getting called up for the Portugal camp, and admitted she was a little nervous but “loved the Portugal camp. It was my first camp and the girls made it really easy to settle in”.
Ellie O’Brien, her Cork City and former Cork Gaynor Cup team-mate helped the transition to what was a camp busy with meetings, training as well as specific time set aside to keep up on schoolwork assignments from home, though Heidi laughs that she “thought about leaving the books in Cork”.
James Scott was delighted with Heidi, and the Portugal camp overall. ”Heidi was new to the group and playing a year up for her country which is a great achievement, she had been on standby and came in late and did a great job at left sided centre back. She looked very comfortable, as though she had played ten or more games at this level” he said.
While they lost 3-1 to Portugal in the opening game of the camp, Scott was happy with the trip “Portugal was to look at the starting eleven for the qualifiers and it served that purpose. We lost the opening game, but I was happy with the performance. We had travelled the day before and the game was played in 25-degree heat and we were a little sloppy in the final 20 minutes”, he recalls “but we had a couple of very good training days and in the second game looked very solid defensively and created some great opportunities and Heidi scored that lovely goal on her debut.”
With the confidence of the manager behind her, Heidi is looking forward to the week. “I hope to start Saturday but I don’t think I’ll play all of the three games” she said. Rotation in the squad will be important with three games in eight days. Ellie O’Brien and Maebh Russell will also be pushing for starting positions with Scott full of praise for both “Ellie reminds me of Denise O’Sullivan in the way she plays, her ability to spot a pass that others might not, and she can dictate the tempo of the game” he continued “and Maebh in tenacious, quick and strong and just doesn’t let anyone beat her, she’s also a good influence off the pitch, always relaxed and smiling”.
The Irish Women U17 Side face Hungary on Saturday, October 9th (1pm), Bulgaria on Tuesday, October 12th (1pm), and hosts Norway on Friday October 15th (4pm).