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The sides met at the Aviva Stadium in September. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Belfast

Windsor Park to host Nations League meeting of Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

The sides will meet at Belfast’s National Football Stadium on 5 December.

NORTHERN IRELAND HAS confirmed that December’s Uefa Women’s Nations League clash against the Republic of Ireland will take place at Windsor Park.

Belfast’s National Football Stadium will host the all-island Group B1 showdown on Tuesday, 5 December.

The reverse tie was an historic one at the Aviva Stadium in September, with the Republic easing to a 3-0 win on their first appearance at Lansdowne Road. Under the watchful eye of interim manager Eileen Gleeson, that ultimately kickstarted their perfect campaign to date, with promotion to League A wrapped up with two games to spare last night.

A chaotic 1-0 win in Albania, coupled with the North’s 1-1 draw with Hungary at their regular Seaview home, confirmed Gleeson’s side as group winners.

The focus now turns to a December double-header.

Northern Ireland last played at Windsor Park in April 2022, when they faced England in a World Cup qualifier.

“The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park is the home of football in Northern Ireland,” Angela Platt, Director of Women’s Football at the Irish FA, said. “It is a place we are proud of and one that is befitting of this fixture.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our neighbours from the Republic of Ireland for what we hope will be a fantastic contest. It will also be an opportunity to demonstrate to everyone how far the women’s game has come here and how it continues to grow across the island of Ireland.”

“To be back at the National Stadium at Windsor Park for a major senior women’s international is testament to the growth of the women’s game in Northern Ireland,” manager Tanya Oxtoby added.

“For me, it will be particularly special to manage the team there for the first time. Not only do I feel that the players will benefit from this but our brilliant fans will make it an atmosphere to help the team perform to its peak.”

The Aviva Stadium showpiece was Oxtoby’s first game in charge, and she has since overseen one win, one draw and another defeat. She was joined by veteran captain Marissa Callaghan in the pre-match press conference in Dublin, who spoke of the prospect of a move for the return game.

“I would expect it to be in Windsor,” she said. “I hope it is because it would be a good chance to sell out the stadium. We previously did that for the England game and I’ve no doubt that’ll happen again if we bring Ireland to Windsor.”

A record-breaking crowd of 15,384 watched on on that occasion, with capacity now up on 18,500. A landmark attendance of 35,944 was present at the Aviva in September.

In the final window of the inaugural Women’s Nations League, the Republic of Ireland face Hungary at Tallaght Stadium first on 1 December, with the North travelling to Albania.

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