Convent of Mercy, Roscommon student and Athlone Town striker Aisling Hanly has had a very busy year. After impressing at the recent U-15 interprovincial tournament for Connacht, Aisling has been chosen to take part in training with the Republic of Ireland U-15 squad in Abbotstown this Saturday. The former CP Ajax player will then travel to Finland next Monday with the Republic of Ireland Deaf Women’s Futsal team as they take part in the European Championships.
The 14-year-old striker told People Sport she was looking forward to the European campaign which will begin with a warm-up game against Spain.
“We’re playing Norway, Sweden and Germany and if we come in the top eight at the Euros we’ll qualify for the World Cup next year. I can’t wait, it will be a really good experience,” she said.
Aisling played a pivotal role as the Republic sealed their tickets to Finland at a qualifying tournament in Amsterdam earlier this year. She scored a hattrick as Ireland came from 3-1 down to beat Italy 6-2 in their must-win final match, and at 13, became the youngest goal scorer at the tournament according to the FAI.
The modest Kilteevan girl has plenty of people to thank for her continued development including her former and current clubs and her mother Liz who provides endless encouragement and lifts! Her father and brother will also be making the trip to cheer her on in Finland.
“Soccer is really good here (at the Convent). We won the Connacht title last year and I scored a goal in that. We then played Presentation Thurles in the All-Ireland semi-final but we lost that 2-0.
“I have training Mondays and Wednesdays and then Dublin on Saturdays (for Ireland training) and matches Sundays so it is pretty hectic but I can get it done!”
The standard is “really high” at those training sessions in Dublin according to Aisling but she relishes the challenge. It’s a good thing too considering she has her sights set firmly on becoming a professional in America.
For now though, she’s heading east as the Republic of Ireland Deaf Women’s Futsal team prepares to take on the very best Europe has to offer.