The captain of the Irish women's team, Katie McCabe, has claimed that she is keen to improve on the extremely successful 2023 that she has had.
This year, the Dublin native became Ireland's first-ever women's captain to lead Ireland to a Women's World Cup and also became the first Irish footballer since Roy Keane in 2000 to be nominated for the prestigious Ballon d'Or award. She has also helped Ireland's WNT gain promotion from their Nations League Group B to Group A.
There is optimism around Ireland's future, and the chances of making it to the Euros in 2025 are also enhanced by Ireland's promotion to the top Nations League group. McCabe, who is Ireland's lynchpin, was asked about what 2023 meant to her and reflected on it by saying, "I mean it's no question; it's probably been my favourite year to play in a green shirt," she said after Ireland's 1-0 win over Hungary.
However, McCabe may be happy at this moment, but she and the rest of the Irish team are keen to improve and achieve more milestones in 2024. The goal now is to make winning and hitting targets and goals more common than they ever were.
"I'm sure the girls will agree on that. Representing Ireland at a World Cup will definitely be the standout thing. But we don't want to just look back and be happy with that and be satisfied with that; we want to keep pushing forward," she added.
"We want to make it a common theme where we're pushing and playing against opposition and qualifying for tournaments. As nice as 2023 was, we want more of it, and 2024 is going to be massive."
The Girls in Green interim-manager Eileen Gleeson had been touted as former Ireland manager Vera Pauw's long-term successor, and there was merit in a potential appointment after five wins from five in their Nations League group. This will not be the case. Gleeson's last game with Ireland will be against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on Tuesday. She is then expected to return to her role as Director of Women's and Girls' Football.
The FAI (Football Association of Ireland) is also expected to speed up the search for a permanent Ireland boss.
Neverthless, McCabe has praised her fellow Dublin native Gleeson and her team for the work they achieved over the short span she held the role. She is now keen to see what happens next.
"Since Eileen's come in, it's been fantastic," added McCabe. "We've got on great; you can see the chemistry we have. I have known Eileen for a long time. As I said, the results have been fantastic.
"How Eileen, Emma, and Colin have implemented how we want to play, we've taken to it. It's not my decision, as I said I've really enjoyed working with them, but we'll see what happens over the course of the next few weeks."
Ireland plays Northern Ireland at 6:30 tomorrow evening.