Megan Connolly out of Ireland's Euro qualifier against Greece

Megan Connolly has been ruled out of Ireland’s Euro 2021 qualifier against Greece in Tallaght on Thursday.

Megan Connolly out of Ireland's Euro qualifier against Greece

Megan Connolly has been ruled out of Ireland’s Euro 2021 qualifier against Greece in Tallaght on Thursday.

The Brighton midfielder is expected to be sidelined for a number of weeks after sustaining a shoulder injury in training.

“It’s very unfortunate because I’ve never seen her, even in all the videos, play as well as she’s doing at this moment,” said Ireland manager Vera Pauw.

We would have built around her so it’s a shame.

The Irish medical staff are also carefully monitoring Rianna Jarrett, who marked her return from injury with a goal brace in what was her debut for Brighton against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last week.

“We all know that Rianna is just getting back and we really have to take care of her load,” said Pauw.

“We think we can get her ready for 70 minutes and we’ll see if she can play longer. We have very good contact with her club, two or three times a week, and that’s ongoing.”

On Jarrett’s impressive debut for the Women’s Super League club, which she joined from Wexford Youths in January, Pauw observed: “Scoring two goals, a better moment you can’t get. It was fantastic.

“Of course, the club took a risk because it’s the middle of the season and they didn’t know when she would be able to play, so for her to be ready for that game and to score immediately, that’s a reward for the club as well.”

Looking ahead to Thursday’s big match in Tallaght, Pauw said: “A win is crucial. If we draw it’s not over but it becomes really difficult.”

She added that Ireland planned to “do something a little bit different” at home to a Greek side with whom they drew 1-1 away last time out.

Obviously, the coach was not about to elaborate but she did make clear that she wants her team to impose their game on the opposition, a proactive approach which could see captain Katie McCabe revert to her more customary attacking role having played as a full-back in Athens.

“This team is not a team to sit off,” said Pauw of the girls in green.

“I go with the qualities we have and try to eliminate what we don’t have. Sitting off is not our best approach. As soon as we sit off we become passive. If we don’t influence their play that means they take over. That is why we will always take the initiative.”

The FAI say that 5,000 tickets have already been distributed for Thursday’s game, and Pauw is hoping that the home crowd can have a positive influence on Ireland's performance.

“During the game, I hope they will be loud and really boost us to another level because that’s what we will need,” she said.

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