Niamh Fahey wary of more clued...


Niamh Fahey wary of more clued-in Ukraine in vital Euro qualifier

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Republic of Ireland defender Niamh Fahey feels there's less of a chance they'll be underestimated by Ukraine in Friday's crucial European Championship qualifier.

Vera Pauw's side have travelled to Kiev needing only a point to secure at least a playoff spot.

The previous meeting of the sides a year ago saw Ireland come away from Tallaght with a 3-2 victory. Having raced into a 2-0 lead inside 28-minutes, Ukraine had managed to draw level by the break.

But a second half own goal from Lyubov Shmatko set Ireland on the way to potentially qualifying for a first ever major finals.

Fahey's known the sting of disappointment before, however. She was part of Noel King's side that lost 4-1 on aggregate to Iceland in a playoff for Euro 2009.

Pauw has mentioned that perhaps the Ukrainians under-estimated her side in 2019, and Fahey knows it's a trick they can't pull off twice, "We've had a look at their recent game against Greece - they won 4-0 - and I suppose Vera's right, we probably went under the radar against them in that early opening game.

"We're expecting a lot different challenge this time, but we'll have our homework done as well and we'll be ready for the challenge."

"Pressure is a privilege" has become a mantra of the side, with Fahey echoing the words of teammate Ruesha Littlejohn earlier in the week.

"As a player playing at the top level, you want to be in these situations, you want to be in these scenarios.

"It's something everyone is looking forward to, and hopefully we get the right results so we can get to the playoffs."

The 33-year old was appointed Liverpool captain in August, and says she's growing into the role as the side adapts to life in the Championship.

And Fahey sees the position as one that's far more than just ceremonial, "Now being captain you have that extra responsibility to help out [with] off the pitch stuff, which brings its own challenges and burdens.

"Making sure you can help everyone with off-field problems, that can be just as difficult as actually concentrating on your job on the pitch.

"I'm enjoying it, it's a new experience for me and I'm definitely learning as I'm going along as well."

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Ireland Niamh Fahey Republic Of Ireland Republic Of Ireland WNT Vera Pauw Womens European Championships

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