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Wright Helps Ireland to Historic Win

July 16, 2014
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Courtesy: Gareth Maher
(photo: Gareth Maher)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M rising sophomore Grace Wright played all 90 minutes for the Republic of Ireland as the squad scored a 1-0 win in its first-ever appearance at a UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship Final Tournament on Tuesday afternoon at UKI Arena in Jessheim, Norway.

In Tuesday’s triumph, Wright helped the Green Army secure its fourth consecutive shutout of the championship with her play on the backline. She joined the team for the Elite Round played in Netherlands in April. In the Elite Round, Ireland sandwiched 1-0 wins against Austria and Turkey around a 0-0 tie against Netherlands. Wright was not on the squad during the Qualifying Round last September as she was engrossed in her freshman campaign with Texas A&M. In the Qualifying Round, Ireland toppled Kazakhstan (7-0) and Greece (3-1) while playing Denmark to a draw (2-2).

The Irish side continues the group stage of the tournament Friday with a match against England in Mjondalen, Norway. The final of their three group stage matches is slated for Monday, July 21 against Sweden in Jessheim. The top two teams from the four-team group advance to the semifinals on Thursday, July 24, and the championship match is slated for Sunday, July 27.

Ireland, who never appeared in the previous 16 European U-19 Championship Final Tournaments played since 1998 (U-18 from 1998-2001), entered play as the relative underdog among the eight squads. Although there is not a separate U19 ranking, the Republic of Ireland program ranks 20th among UEFA sides in the FIFA World Rankings. The other seven teams in the Final Tournament include Sweden (3), England (4), Norway (5), Netherlands (7), Spain (9), Scotland (12) and Belgium (17).

Wright represents the lone player on the squad hailing from a United States college program.

For her career, Wright has made 11 appearances for the national team, including two matches with the Ireland U17 squad in qualifying for the 2012 UEFA European Championships and nine matches with the U19 team.

As a freshman, the College Station resident appeared in 18 matches, including eight starts. She logged two assists on the season, including setting up Liz Keester’s game-winning goal in the 84th minute of A&M’s 2-1 win over Florida in the SEC Tournament championship match.

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