The manager of the Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 19 team, Dave Connell, has said that his side are "a year early" in their progress since he took over three years ago.
The team will aim to extend their historic run at the UEFA Championships tomorrow when they meet Netherlands in the semi-final.
Kicking off at 6pm Irish time, the final four clash will see Connell’s squad go in search of a fourth straight win having topped Group B following wins over Spain, England, and Sweden.
When they arrive at Mjondalen Stadium – just outside Oslo, Norway – for the game, Ireland will be ready for the test after working hard in training, video analysis sessions, and recovery since beating Sweden last Monday.
Connell, and his backroom team, are keeping the Ireland players focused on overcoming a Netherlands outfit who they held to a scoreless draw in qualifying.
“We’ve got a lot of very good players and what we do have that other countries would love to have is a great team spirit. They get on well together and work together on and off the pitch, which is great,” said Connell.
“I took over three years ago and we set about building a team that would challenge for the European Championships within four years. So we did that a year early and we’ve really progressed with this group of girls, who come from around the entire country.
“It has been a great start for us at these finals, but we’re fully focused on the Netherlands now. We played them in the Elite Phase qualifiers in the Netherlands, so we know all about them and will be fully prepared going into the game.
“While it’s been great so far, we’re not ready to go home just yet. We want to reach the final and win the tournament, but looking past the Netherlands would be foolish. They are a very good team and they will know they are in a game when we take them on.”
Connell has a full squad to choose from, leaving him with a nice selection headache.