McCabe: I’ve no issue with internal appointment as boss

McCabe: I’ve no issue with internal appointment as boss
Republic of Ireland captian Katie McCabe with her sister Lauryn McCabe (11) and Holly Gobbet (11), who both play for Kilnamanagh AFC Under 13’s, based in Tallaght. Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Katie McCabe has said she has no issue with whether the FAI make an internal or external appointment as manager of the Irish women’s team.

With the hunt to find a successor to Colin Bell continuing, caretaker manager Tom O’Connor will remain at the helm for Ireland’s opening European Championship qualifier at home to Montenegro on September 3.

“Yes, Tom will be in charge for the Montenegro game, which I’m quite happy with,” skipper McCabe said yesterday. “Working with Tom for the last number of years, I have a close relationship with him. He obviously worked as Colin’s assistant so he knows the team and the kind of style we want to play.

"And going into the Montenegro game, I think myself and the girls are definitely confident we can get a result, and I’ve every trust in the FAI that they’ll go and get the right candidate for us.”

It’s a trust which didn’t appear to be shared by McCabe’s international team-mate Megan Campbell when, earlier this month, she came out strongly against the idea of an internal appointment as a successor to Bell.

“I think if it goes internal again, it’s a regression for women’s football, and what we’re after fighting for the last three years will just all be forgotten about,” she said. “It’s an easy cop-out to just keep the job internal.”

She also said that if the FAI went down that route, there would be “a lot of unhappy people in camp and a lot of tough decisions may be made by players.”

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However, yesterday McCabe said she would not be critical of an internal appointment, noting that she had experienced success at under-age level with Dave Connell, who remains a leading contender for the top job which, at one point recently, had been linked with former Germany U20 coach Maren Meinert.

“I guess people have different opinions, but I know that as players we’re all on the same wavelength in terms of what we want for the team,” was McCabe’s response when asked about Campbell’s comments. “Because that’s obviously the first priority, not what individuals want.

"So no, we’re all on the same page in terms of that. But I wouldn’t obviously diss internal appointments. I know that, whether it’s internal or external, they’ll find the best person for the job. I’ve had great campaigns underage under the likes of Dave.”

McCabe revealed the FAI has had “contact” with the players “about what we obviously feel is best”. She says the squad are united about what’s required to build on the progress made under Bell.

“Colin brought a lot of changes to the team, we went that step forward in terms of professionalism in everything we did, with more people playing across the water, which is better for the team — players playing in professional environments.

"But Megan…I don’t know the angle she was looking at, but all the girls in the squad are on the same page and we’re ready to go into a European campaign together.

Our goal as a team is to qualify for a major tournament. We go out on the pitch and do a job, give it 100%, and our goal doesn’t change no matter who comes in. I have been in contact with the rest of the team, senior players, younger players, we are all on that same page going forward, and that’s important.

"If you have people on different wavelengths going into the Montenegro game that’s a problem — but fortunately we don’t have that problem.”

McCabe knows all about winning the after helping Arsenal claim the league title last season. So what does she think it will take for the Irish women’s national team to make history by qualifying for the European Championship finals in England in two years’ time?

“In terms of us getting there, I definitely think each player becoming more professional will help,” she said. “Getting that level of training every single week, you have to be on top of your game competing for a spot on Sunday. You can’t fall short, you can’t be like: ‘I don’t fancy it today, I don’t fancy it this weekend.’

“And to have that level of competitiveness, which we do have now in the women’s national team, is immense. To have that ruthlessness, going into every game, wanting to and believing we can win it.

“I know myself and the girls are definitely confident we can get across the line.”

Katie McCabe has said she has no issue with whether the FAI make an internal or external appointment as manager of the Irish women’s team.


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