Aoife Mannion has said 'it was always her intention and desire to play for Ireland' a week after being called up by Vera Pauw

Aoife Mannion has said 'it was always her intention and desire to play for Ireland' a week after being called up by Vera Pauw

NEWLY RECRUITED IRELAND PLAYER Aoife Mannion has said that she only ever intended to play for the Republic of Ireland national team after switching over from England this year. 

Mannion was born in Birmingham, but always kept her Irish roots thanks her mother being from Mayo and her dad being from Galway. 

The Manchester United defender has been in fine form for her club Manchester United but has had to bide her time for a chance in an Irish jersey.  

The 27-year-old has played for every England team since U15's and even had the chance to play for the senior squad under previous manager Phil Neville in 2019, but that England cap never came to fruition.  

This month Mannion is one of two new faces in the Ireland squad that have been called up to take part in Ireland's training camp in Marbella.

Despite nearly playing for the Three Lions team, Mannion insisted the only dream she had was representing Ireland at international level.  

"Probably for little over the last year it's been my intention and desire to play for Ireland," the Manchester United defender said. 

"I started messaging a couple of the girls a year ago and then I did my cruciate. The surgery put a spanner in the works. Then I bumped into Vera [Pauw] last May and told her it was my intention to play for Ireland. The process has kicked on since then and ended up getting my clearance only a week ago. 

"In some ways it feels a long time coming but the clearance has just happened. Here we are. 

"To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen my parents so proud of anything I’ve done. 

"I’ve been around football for a while and involved in few things but if they died tomorrow, they’d be happy. That’s how excited how they are." 

Mannion added further on her desire to play for Ireland and claimed her parents Irish influence had a profound effect on her growing up as a child.  

Mannion said: “My Mam is from Mayo and Dad is Galway. Whoever is winning in the Gaelic determines what shirt I have on. Usually, it’s Mayo in the GAA and Galway in hurling."

“My parents met in England after moving over for work. They joined an Irish community in Birmingham, hence the Irish dancing and me playing GAA locally.  

“All of the Irish traditions – GAA, Irish dancing and going to mass – has felt traditional.  

“In England, we got six weeks off for school holidays in the summer, six weeks off, up until the age of 11, I spent the whole of my summer in Ireland. 

“And looking back, I think my parents would have been so pleased to farm me out to my grandparents.  

“Obviously I’ve been born in England but apart from that, all my family were Irish.” 

Ireland play China on the February 22nd 

That game kicks off at 14.00pm  

Republic of Ireland WNT Squad 

Goalkeepers: Courtney Brosnan (Everton), Megan Walsh (Brighton & Hove Albion), Grace Moloney (Reading), Naoisha McAloon (Durham WFC) 

Defenders: Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Diane Caldwell (Reading), Louise Quinn (Birmingham City), Hayley Nolan (London City Lionesses), Claire Walsh (Glasgow City), Megan Campbell (Liverpool), Áine O’Gorman (Shamrock Rovers), Aoife Mannion (Manchester United) 

Midfielders: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ruesha Littlejohn (Aston Villa), Jamie Finn (Birmingham City), Lily Agg (London City Lionesses), Ciara Grant (Hearts), Lucy Quinn (Birmingham City), Isibeal Atkinson (West Ham United) 

Forwards: Amber Barrett (Potsdam Turbine), Heather Payne (Florida State University), Kyra Carusa (London City Lionesses), Abbie Larkin (Shamrock Rovers), Marissa Sheva (Washington Spirit)
International Friendly 
China PR v Republic of Ireland
Wednesday, February 22
KO 14:00 (13:00 Irish Time)
Estadio Nuevo Mirador, Algeciras, Cadiz