A new campaign brings new hope, but Karen Duggan believes that the time is now for the Republic of Ireland to deliver.
With Ireland all set to begin their Euro 2017 campaign, he Kilkenny defender is adamant that Sue Ronan’s side have a great chance to make it to the big stage.
“The draw was made in March so since then we’ve been itching to get out there and play,” she said in the build-up to Ireland’s opening group game with Finland.
“Watching the World Cup in Canada over the Summer makes you want to get out there and play in those major tournaments. There’s real hope in the camp that this will be the tournament where we make it out of the groups and qualify.”
Ireland were seeded third in a group which also contains Spain, Portugal and Montenegro, but with 16 teams making it to Holland for the 2017 finals there’s every hope that the Irish can advance.
“When you’re going in as the third seed and know you have to get one of the two spots it’s always going to be an uphill struggle,” the UCD Waves player said.
“It’s a massive challenge, but we always see ourselves as a team of underdogs who can always beat the side above us. We’ll definitely looking to do that, to get good results at home.
“We’ve always been tough to beat away from home too,” she added. “I don’t think people will be too happy to have us as third seeds in the group.”
First capped at senior level in 2013, Duggan has been a feature in the side for the last while - getting that run of games has been a big help.
“I’ve always felt that the more games you play the more confidence you have, especially since we got some good results,” said the Piltown native. “I think that experience is going to give us the hunger to get more results like that and to get out of our group.”
The Republic of Ireland senior women’s team will play Finland in Tallaght Stadium at 7.30pm on Friday, September 21. Admission is €5 adults (€2 students and schoolchildren).