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Leanne Kiernan Hoping For Republic Of Ireland Chance After Season High

Leanne Kiernan Hoping For Republic Of Ireland Chance After Season High
By Jonathan Byrne

The Republic of Ireland are well settled into Murcia in Spain for the Pinatar Cup, and Liverpool's Leanne Kiernan will be hoping to leave her mark.

The Irish have enjoyed a positive start to the tournament in their inaugural outing. A 2-1 victory over higher-ranked Poland on Wednesday guaranteed their semi-final spot.

They'll be out against Russia on Saturday and will be hoping to go all the way. It's provided Vera Pauw with much-needed eyes on players between World Cup qualifiers in November and April.

While the Republic of Ireland squad weren't short for goals in the last campaign, after famously topping Georgia by eleven goals, they were missing arguably their most in-form striker.

Leanne Kiernan is the current top goalscorer in the Women's Championship and has been an integral part of a Liverpool side who hold a sizeable lead at the top of the table.

Kiernan On Irish Aspirations

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, she says she's patiently waiting on her breakthrough into the national side. "I'm just going to keep my head down, work hard, and wait for my opportunity," she said.

"I've a few goals this season that I want to reach. They're down on a piece of paper at home. So when the season is over hopefully I'll have ticked all of those boxes."

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"Getting back into the national team is a big one for me. I'm a very proud Irishwoman and it's a massive achievement to play for your country."

Injuries forced the Cavan native out of Vera Pauw's squad in November, but Kiernan did feature off the bench against Sweden in September and provided a threat.

Her time in West Ham before joining Liverpool was also hampered by injuries. She's slowly recovered from shin splints that have been problematic throughout her career.

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The Liverpool medical team has carefully managed her this season and it has paid dividends. Kiernan scored twice against Coventry earlier this month and a hat-trick at Blackburn in January.

"I've been really enjoying my football lately, it's been quite nice. There's a good few Irish around now. Liverpool feels like my home across the water," she told RTÉ.

Kiernan's club and country teammate, Niamh Fahey, earned her 100th cap against Poland and she admitted the Liverpool captain was a selling point for moving to Merseyside.

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Liverpool's strength and conditioning coach, Colm Smith, has worked closely with her this season and also provides some support close to home as they both grew up in Cavan.

Pauw has opted to start Lucy Quinn and Kyla Caruso in the Irish attack so far for the Pinatar Cup, but Kiernan is waiting for an opportunity to showcase her skill set.

"Football is about ability, but my point would be how mentally strong are you," she said. "You've to keep going and going, and eventually you'll get your shot and you have to take it when you get it."

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See Also: Irish Manager Jim Goodwin Is Set To Be Poached From St Mirren

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