Sports

Newry Ladies target Champions League

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Newry Ladies target Champions League thumbnail NEWRY City Ladies are joint top of the Women’s Premier League and still involved in the other three domestic cups.

WOMEN'S Champions League qualification became a step closer to reality for Newry City Ladies after a convincing win away to Glentoran.

Considering Newry lost 0-3 to Glentoran earlier this season it was a massive improvement from the team and a timely boost in confidence ahead of a busy week.

A brace from Brazilian Rayza de Sousza and goals from Trudi Harbinson and Patricia Da Silva gave Newry a comfortable win, which leaves them joint top of the table with defending champions Linfield.

Newry manager Stephen Hatfield was delighted with the result and while they are targeting four competitions he is unequivocal about his ambition and the Premier League title is priority.

Newry have four more league games, with the last of those against Linfield, which has the potential to make or break City's season.

"It was a must win game, so to win 4-0 comfortably was a real statement of intent from the girls," said Hatfield.

"To have recorded that win in such style and to be annoyed we didn't increase our lead really says a lot for how the girls are playing at the moment.

"Linfield are a great side, they beat Ballymena 10-0 and increased the goal difference. So we fully expect to have to win our next three games against Cliftonville, Ballymena and Sion, to set up a decider and another big game against Linfield in the last game of the season." What makes Newry's win even more impressive is that they were without Moya Feehan, who is in America and captain Grace Murray who is available this week. But the manner of victory shows the strength within the squad and it will be tested with three games within a week, including last night's (Monday) cup clash against Glentoran.

The Newry boss has bolstered the squad with the signing of Claire Taylor. She is currently over at University in Sterling and played for Sterling FC in the Scottish Premier League and was expected to feature against Glentoran again last night (Monday) in the Irish Cup and will be available for selection against Cliftonville in the League on Wednesday,,at The Showgrounds, and then the following week Newry play in the semi-final of the League Cup against Crusaders.

"To get three games in a week is quite rare but we are hoping that if we can win the game on Monday night (last night) then that will put us into the semi-final of the Irish Cup, semi-final of the League Cup the semi-final of the Mid-Ulster Cup, as well as being joint top of the League, so we are certainly competing of four fronts," said Hatfield.

"But our priority 100 percent is the League. That might sound like a cliché but the priority for these girls, including the Brazilians and the local girls is to qualify for Champions League football. "Linfield are going to experience it this August, just like the Newry girls did last year.

"But that is the motivation and we are aiming for the League title and anything after that is bonus."

NEWRY CITY LADIES: Dhebora Barbosa, Bliathin Mackin, Luany De Sousa, Trudi Harbison, Patricia Da Silva, Elenize Belem, Aimee Mackin, Rayza De Souza, Kate Flood, Amanda Dias.

Subs: Jaqueline Gomes, Megan Cinnamond, Leanne Domican, Claire Taylor.

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