Top spot now the target for Ireland U17s after securing qualification for Elite Round

Midfielder Heather Payne says that her side look to maintain their 100% record in the European Championships qualifying group

BY Newstalk 13:00 Monday 31 October 2016, 13:00 31 Oct 2016

Image: FAI

Heather Payne says that qualification group top spot is now the target for the Republic of Ireland U17's  as they go in search of a spot in the finals of the European Championships.

Ireland come off the back of consecutive victories over the Faroe Islands and Belarus and have one final game against Iceland on Monday night, knowing qualification for the Elite Round is already guaranteed.

The Group 10 leaders must overcome their final opponents of the qualifying round in order to progress as top seeds in their pursuit of a place in the UEFA European Championship finals.

"We're happy that we have qualified but our focus is on beating Iceland, getting nine points and topping the group," said Payne. "That's all that matters.

"Getting top spot or not getting it could be the difference of getting to the finals or not. We have a massive game against Iceland and we are going to treat it as if it is our first game."

Dave Bell's side welcome their Icelandic counterparts to Turners Cross and a win would see them through their qualification to the Elite Round in the best possible fashion.

Next summer's tournament will be staged in Czech Republic with only seven places up for grabs.

"We are representing our country, so we want to make the most of it and make people proud of us," said Enniskerry forward Alannah McEvoy.

"We also want to qualify for the tournaments for the likes of Heather (Payne) and Tiegan (Ruddy) because this is their last year at this level.

"Take it from a striker who puts team satisfaction before personal glory, this Ireland outfit are not finished yet. They have one big game to go and they are determined to come out on top." 

Kick-off for Monday's game in Cork is at 7pm.

Republic of Ireland Women's Under 17s

Goalkeepers: Erica Turner, Rachael Kelly (Shelbourne Ladies)

Defenders: Aoife Lynagh, Lucia Lobato (Salthill Devon), Lauryn Grier (Kentstown Rovers), Sadhbh Doyle, Rachel Baynes (Galway WFC), Tara Mannix (Cork City WFC), Orla Casey (Evergreen)

Midfielders: Tiegan Ruddy, Doireann Fahey, Chloe Singleton (Peamount United), Tyler Toland (Maiden City), Megan Mackey (Chelsea Ladies)

Forwards: Heather Payne, Carla McManus (Peamount United), Isibeal Carolan, Alannah McEvoy (Enniskerry)

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