David Wilson reporting for the Sean McCaffrey foundation.
As West Ham searched for a winner against Reading in their recent Continental League Cup match, Cavan prodigy Leanne Kiernan was brought off the bench in the hope of providing the spark for her team.
While the clock ticked down towards 90 minutes, it was Kiernan’s searing pace that saw her burst through the Reading defence and lay on a plate a pass which was struck home by teammate Alisha Lehmann.
Kiernan’s impact delighted her teammates and her manager Matt Beard as they were able to progress to the next round of the League Cup.
Focus now turns to an important EURO 2021 Qualification game away to Greece for the Bailieborough native as Ireland look to qualify for their first major tournament.
In a season which has been slightly interrupted by injury, Kiernan appeared off the bench in the last international qualifier at home to Ukraine. The Girls in Green were the victors in that game in front of a record crowd in Tallaght stadium.
Kiernan provided a much-needed outlet down the right using her speed and neat dribbling ability to provide her defence with a breather as the Ukrainians poured forward in search of an equaliser.
Ireland will be hoping for a positive result in Greece as they look to secure second place and a play-off for the European championships taking place in England in 19 months’ time. New head coach Vera Pauw will look to former player of the year Kiernan to spearhead an attack alongside Rianna Jarrett, Katie McCabe, Amber Barrett and the likes.
Kiernan will hope to cement her place for both club and country over the next few months as the 2019/20 season takes shape. Dynamic, strong, pacey with an eye for goal it won’t be long before the clinical striker will be among the goals both in the green of Ireland, and in the claret and blue of West Ham United.