Howe proud to get first competitive international cap

Casey Howe’s recent club form with Athlone earned her a place in Northern Ireland’s senior team last week. Manager Tanya Oxtoby called in 21-year-old Howe for the European Qualifier against Malta last week but a stomach bug ruled the Maguiresbridge player out in the preceding days.

On Tuesday afternoon against Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was a different story for Howe though as she was sprung from the bench in the 66th minute. Playing on the wing, Howe was only two minutes on the field when she fed the ball to Simone Magill and she hit the net with a neat finish for Northern Ireland’s third goal in their 3-1 victory.

Howe had an effort saved as Northern Ireland went in search of a fourth on what was an impressive first competitive international cap for the Fermanagh player.


“It was a sweet end to a tough week. It was something I worked towards for the past couple of years and to be finally given the opportunity was great. It’s given me that taste to go out and get many more caps,” she said.

Howe’s last involvement with the Northern Ireland setup was back in 2020 when she played two international friendlies. During the Kenny Shiels’ management era, Howe just didn’t break into the squad but now she has another chance to stake her claim for the jersey and it’s one she intends to grasp with ‘both hands’;

“It was frustrating because I have confidence in myself and my ability and it was frustrating not being involved in the squad but it also gave me that fire that whenever I did get back in, to take that (attitude). That’s my position now to grasp it with both hands and don’t let go of it.”

With three goals and three assists for Athlone after only a handful of games, Howe attributes much of her good form to her current club manager Ciarán Kilduff;

“Ciaran has instilled a lot of confidence in me that I can do a job.

“He was an attacker himself and he likes that attacking style of football – he would always say: ‘Play with the shackles off and go and express yourself when you’re going forward.’ I suppose he’s given me that license to go and play and be myself which has really helped,” added the University of Ulster sports science student.”

Next up for third seeds Northern Ireland is a doubleheader against the top seeds, Portugal. They will take on the Portuguese in Leiria on May 31 before the return game in Northern Ireland on 4 June and the Maguiresbridge woman has her sights set on being in the mix for that glamour tie;


“It was about getting my foot in the door initially and about getting back into camp again.
“Now it’s to build on that and I want to retain my spot in the squad, at least, for the Portugal game and I really do want to push on then and get a lot more minutes.”

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