Rachel Furness among Northern Ireland Women back from injury

NI Women welcome back Rachel Furness
Photo: Presseye/William Cherry

Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels’ squad for two FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 qualifiers sees the return from injury of several senior players.

Talismanic Liverpool attacking midfielder Rachel Furness returns to the fold after recovering from the broken leg she sustained in the first leg of the Women’s Euro 2022 play-off against Ukraine back in April.

Also returning is Demi Vance of Rangers, the experienced full back/midfielder who has recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury which she picked up in a Euro qualifier against Belarus last November.

They are joined in the 23-strong squad by Glentoran attacking midfielder Caragh Milligan, who has overcome a long-term injury, and Cliftonville striker Caitlin McGuinness, who last featured in a squad back in December.

Cliftonville defender Kelsie Burrows, Glentoran striker Danielle Maxwell and young Crusaders Strikers goalkeeper Maddy Harvey-Clifford have returned to the fold as well.

Missing from Shiels’ panel this time due to injury is young Cliftonville defender Toni-Leigh Finnegan.

Other players missing out – all were in the squad chosen to face Scotland in early summer – include Glentoran trio Joely Andrews, Sam Kelly and Casey Howe along with Cliftonville defender Fi Morgan and Lisburn Rangers defender Ella Haughey.

And still recovering from long term injuries are Rangers midfielder Megan Bell and Linfield pair Ashley Hutton and Abbie Magee, while Everton striker Simone Magill is injured, too.

Northern Ireland begin their quest for a place at the Women’s World Cup in 2023 with a qualifier against Luxembourg at Inver Park in Larne next Friday (17 September).

And four days later (Tuesday 21 September) they will face Latvia at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Both games kick off at 19.45.

Northern Ireland squad: 

Goalkeepers: Jackie Burns (Lee University/Glentoran Women), Becky Flaherty (unattached), Maddy Harvey-Clifford (Crusaders Strikers).

Defenders: Julie Nelson (Crusaders Strikers), Rebecca McKenna (Lewes Women), Rebecca Holloway (Birmingham City Women), Laura Rafferty (Southampton Women), Kelsie Burrows (Cliftonville Ladies), Demi Vance (Rangers Women).

Midfielders: Marissa Callaghan and Louise McDaniel (both Cliftonville Ladies), Nadene Caldwell, Chloe McCarron and Caragh Hamilton (all Glentoran Women), Rachel Furness (Liverpool Women), Sarah McFadden (Durham Women), Ciara Watling (Southampton Women).

Forwards: Kerry Beattie, Danielle Maxwell and Lauren Wade (all Glentoran Women), Caitlin McGuinness (Cliftonville Ladies), Kirsty McGuinness (Cliftonville Ladies), Emily Wilson (Crusaders Strikers).

Vitality #WomensFACup: 182 teams commence the qualifiers

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