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Méabh De Búrca: Newcomer Anna Patten can make instant Irish impact

Niamh Fahey's absence from the Republic of Ireland's daunting Euro 2025 qualifying group openers against France and England is a blow but former international Méabh De Búrca is tipping newcomer Anna Patten to make an instant impact.

Experienced Liverpool centre-back Fahey had been named in Eileen Gleeson's squad for this Friday night's trip to Metz and next Tuesday's clash against the English at the Aviva Stadium, both of which are live across RTÉ platforms (details below).

While she was definitely going to miss the French game, there had been faint hope that she could help bolster the back line four days later against the reigning European champions and World Cup runners-up.

However, Fahey was forced to withdraw from the entire window on Tuesday morning due to the calf injury. The fortunate aspect from the Irish point of view is that the defensive sector is the one in which there is most depth with Louise Quinn, Diane Caldwell, Aoife Mannion and Caitlin Hayes primed to battle for the three central defensive berths on Friday.

And now former England youth international Patten can be added to the mix after receiving international clearance this week from FIFA.

Speaking on the RTÉ Soccer Podcast, De Búrca said the Aston Villa defender was a player that could hit the ground running for Ireland and bring qualities on and off the ball if called upon.

"It's probably the position we're most stacked in really, centre-halves, and I can imagine we're going to play three centre-backs against France," said the Galway native.

Listen to the RTÉ Soccer podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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