Niamh Fahey suffers recurrence of calf injury that jeopardises UEFA Nations League bow

Niamh Fahey gestures during a World Cup warm-up defeat to France in Tallaght.

Niamh Fahey gestures during a World Cup warm-up defeat to France in Tallaght. Credit: Hugh de Paor (ETPhotos)

Ireland defender Niamh Fahey has emerged as a doubt for next month’s UEFA Nations League clashes with Northern Ireland and Hungary after suffering a recurrence of a calf injury.

The Galwaywoman had struggled with a calf niggle before appearing in all three of Ireland’s games - having earlier passed the 100-cap mark - at the World Cup in Australia in July.

And she was subbed off early in this afternoon’s 3-1 pre-season friendly defeat away at Manchester United with what boss Matt Beard fears is a pulled calf.

Ireland face the North in the first-ever women's international at the Aviva on September 23rd before travelling to face Hungary in Budapest in their second Nations League tie - and the centre-half faces a race against time to regain fitness.

“Unfortunately for Niamh it’s the same calf problem she had before the World Cup,” Beard told the club’s official website.

“She will have a scan on Friday so we will know the extent of it then, but Niamh felt it pull so that’s not a good sign.”

In more positive news, striker Leanne Kiernan - who missed the entirety of last season with an ankle injury that required surgery and kept her out of the World Cup - is inching closer to a return.

Beard continued: “Leanne had an injection the week before last and she is back running. She still has got a little bit of pain but is progressing.”

Beard is also sweating on Dutch attacker Shanice van der Sanden and English midfielder Melissa Lawley, who is recovering from a hip operation.

All three are unlikely to feature in next month’s opener against Katie McCabe’s Arsenal, with Lawley the furthest in her progression.

Beard said: “Hopefully post-Arsenal or maybe for Arsenal, I don’t know at this stage, she might be available for the squad. 

“But I would probably say Mel is ahead of Shanice and Leanne at the moment.”

And Katie Stengel has made her loan move to US side NJ/NY Gotham - where she is a team-mate of Irish international Sinead Farrelly - permanent for an undisclosed fee.