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Arsenal stars in for Ireland's 'biggest game'

Arsenal LFC quartet Emma Byrne, Yvonne Tracy, Niamh Fahey and Ciara Grant are at the heart of 22-strong Republic of Ireland squad to face Iceland in the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ play-offs.

Arsenal and Ireland trio Ciara Grant, Emma Byrne and Yvonne Tracy
Arsenal and Ireland trio Ciara Grant, Emma Byrne and Yvonne Tracy ©Sportsfile

Ireland welcome Iceland to Dublin's Tolka Park on 26 October before visiting Reykjavik four days later. Along with goalkeeper Byrne, defenders Tracy and Fahey and midfielder Grant, all currently in action for Arsenal in the UEFA Women's Cup second qualifying round, manager Noel King had promoted Amy Ryan, Gillian McDonnell and Louise Quinn from the squad who last month moved past the first stage of the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship.

Future bright
King said: "As this is, without doubt, the biggest game in the history of women's football in Ireland, I have called up 22 players. With so much at stake over the two games, I think it is vital to have this number of players at our disposal due to injuries and yellow cards which may be picked up over the first leg. We will then select 18 players who will travel to Iceland for the return. The future of Irish women's football is very bright with a number of young players coming through the ranks and I think they can have a really positive impact on the squad."

Republic of Ireland squad
Goalkeepers: Emma Byrne (Arsenal LFC), Lynn Bradley (Raheny United FC).

Defenders: Sharon Boyle (Raheny United FC), Niamh Fahey (Arsenal LFC), Yvonne Tracy (Arsenal LFC), Alisha Moran (Fulham LFC), Louise Quinn (Peaumont), Mary Therese McDonnell (unattached).

Midfielders: Meabh Da Burca (Salthill Devon FC), Ciara Grant (Arsenal LFC), Sonya Hughes (Dundalk City WFC), Denise Thomas (Long Island Lady Riders), Ciara McCormack (FK Larvik), Jemma Connor (West Bromwich Albion WFC).

Forwards: Michele O'Brien (Jersey Sky Blue), Stefanie Curtis (Bristol Academy WFC), Aine O'Gorman (Stella Maris FC), Olivia O'Toole (Raheny United FC), Amy Ryan (Stella Maris FC), Gillian McDonnell (Dundalk City WFC), Stephanie Roche (Dundalk City WFC).