Home and Away: The Aussie-Irish connections

While the Commonwealth Bank Matildas and the Republic of Ireland have never met in an international football match, that doesn’t mean the two sides aren’t familiar with each other.

Football being the world game means that even though 15,556 kilometres separate Ireland and Australia, the two nations have plenty of connections.

Journey to 2023 - Thin Banner

Right now at club level, Aussie and Irish women are plying their trade as teammates and opponents in leagues across the globe.

The FA WSL is filled with talent from both nations. At Arsenal, Commonwealth Bank Matildas’ trio Steph Catley, Lydia Williams and Caitlin Foord play alongside Katie McCabe, the Irish captain who has played 52 times for her country.

Last season Foord and McCabe were vital to the Gunners’ attack, contributing a combined 14 goals and 15 assists for Joe Montemurro’s side.

This season, the potential for a McCabe and Catley left-sided attack should strike fear into defences across the FA Women’s Super League. On September 22, they will be adversaries.

Elsewhere in England players like Reading’s Grace Moloney, Brighton’s Megan Connolly, and Birmingham City’s Louise Quinn will face off against Sam Kerr and Chelsea, Hayley Raso and Alanna Kennedy at Manchester City as well as Tottenham’s Kyah Simon.

But it isn’t just in Europe where Australians find themselves playing against and alongside Irish women.

Matildas Abroad: FAWSL 2021-22 Ultimate Guide

News: CommBank Matildas return to action against The Republic of Ireland

Matildas Abroad Review: City and Lyon win; while Arsenal beats Chelsea in a thriller

The W-League has seen some spectacular Irish players down under. Julie-Ann Russell was running around in the blue and yellow of Sydney University in the NPL Women’s NSW competition.

With 59 appearances for Ireland under her belt and a day job that had taken her to Sydney, the striker eventually found herself in the red and black of Western Sydney for the most recent W-League season.

Russell wasn’t the only Irish Wanderer. Denise O’Sullivan’s guest stint for the Wanderers in 2019-20 was instrumental in the club making its first-ever W-League finals series. The season prior, O’Sullivan was in a more familiar colour, turning out for Canberra.  

Ciara McCormack and Lillie Billson played seven games each for the Jets and Sydney FC respectively taking the total number of Irish players to have played in the W-League to five.

There may also be a familiar face donning the green of Ireland with Cairns-born striker Aoife Colvill picking up her first cap for Ireland in the June window this year. Between 2017 and 2020 Colvill was wearing a different shade of green, that of Canberra United before she moved to Scottish champions Glasgow City.

The friendly against Ireland will be the Commonwealth Bank Matildas first match since Tokyo where the team recorded an historic fourth-placed finish.

Match Details

Republic of Ireland v Commonwealth Bank Matildas
Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Venue: Tallaght Stadium, Dublin
Kick Off: 4:00 am (AEST)
Broadcast: Live and free on 10 and simulcast on 10 Play.
Pre-game coverage from 3:30 am AEST. 

Please note that all dates & times listed are AEST. Kick-off in Rep. of Ireland is on Tuesday, 21 September 2021 at 7:00pm local time.