Sarah set for trip to Norway
A YOUNG Ballina woman got the goal that sent the Republic of Ireland U-19s into the European finals … and given them a shot at the World Cup.
Sarah Rowe got the only goal of the game in Ireland’s 1-0 victory over Turkey last Thursday, a result that put Dave Connell’s side into the Uefa Championships elite qualifying round. That competition, the European finals in layman’s terms, takes place in Norway in July, with a place at the World Cup for the four teams who make the semi-finals.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” the teenager told The Mayo News. “I actually can’t wait. I’d love to be going to Norway tomorrow! I’m still on a high! It’s hard to come back to reality.”
But there’s no rest for the St Mary’s Secondary School student. A member of the Mayo Gaelic football team and Castlebar Celtic FC, she’s due to sit the Leaving Cert in June and hopes to study either PE and biology or general science in DCU.
“It’s been a hard year, trying to balance everything,” she explained. “I train six days a week with a match at the weekend. I’m constantly on the go. I need an above-average Leaving Cert and I actually think I’ve been doing it all right so far, but I’ve only a few weeks now to the Leaving Cert, and I’ve an awful lot of work to do.”
She’s started training with boys’ teams in Ballina ‘to get better practice’, and has to follow a training programme for her international coach each week. There’s a cup semi-final in the offing next Sunday with Castlebar Celtic too. ‘Busy’ doesn’t quite cover it, and that’s before we even consider Norway in July.
“I was probably the last person on the pitch who was expected to score,” the winger said regarding that all-important goal, scored in the Dutch town of Harderwijk. “Claire Shine gave me a little pass. There was a player in front of me but I curled it around her and it was into the bottom left-hand corner. It was a good strike. It was up there. I can’t even explain the feeling of it, it was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe my eyes when it went into the goal!
“It’s the first time the [Ireland] U-19s have ever qualified … no one could beat us on heart and determination … we’re a team that has a very good bond.”