With the Republic of Ireland set to make its Women’s World Cup debut tomorrow, July 20, captain and openly LGBTQ+ footballer Katie McCabe is ready to not only make history but “leave a legacy” at the tournament. Speaking on the eve of the team’s opening fixture against Australia, the Tallaght native told reporters that the squad isn’t just there to make up numbers.
Speaking about being the underdogs in Group B, labelled by some as the ‘Group of Death’ in this year’s World Cup, McCabe said: “We want to compete and we want to give Australia, Canada and Nigeria the hardest games possible, starting tomorrow night.”
She added: “For us, fundamentally as a team, we don’t just want to create history. We want to leave a legacy.”
The skipper continued: “It’s crazy to think we are actually here now…To see the numbers that have travelled and the amount of support we have in Sydney – today and, more importantly, tomorrow – it’s really special and the whole team feel that. We want to do the nation proud.
“Why we started playing football was for the love and enjoyment. Myself and the girls have been on a journey, with the coaching staff and all our staff, and it’s something we have all worked hard towards.
“We will embrace every moment and have that moment to ourselves, and when that whistle blows we will be ready to battle,” Ireland’s number 11 concluded.
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— Katie McCabe (@Katie_McCabe11) July 18, 2023
This is the ninth Women’s World Cup, and it boasts a record number of LGBTQ+ athletes, as well as the largest number of countries taking part. Of the 32 competing nations, eight are making their tournament debuts, including Haiti, Morocco, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, Vietnam, Zambia and, of course, Ireland.
The 23-player squad landed in Sydney on Wednesday, June 19, after spending time preparing for the competition at a camp in Brisbane. They kick off their campaign in Stadium Australia on Thursday, taking on the hosts in front of a sold-out crowd of over 80,000. Many Irish fans are travelling to support the Girls in Green, but for those tuning in at home, RTÉ2 will be showing the game from 11am, with general tournament coverage starting on the channel from 7:30am.
This will be the first of three group stage matches for Ireland, with the team also facing Canada on July 26 and Nigeria on July 31. Depending on the results of the fixtures, they may then progress to the knockout rounds of the tournament, which commence on August 5 and conclude with the final on August 20.
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