Ellie Mason: Uncapped Lewes midfielder in Northern Ireland squad for qualifiers


Ellie Mason
Ellie Mason represented Gibraltar in February’s friendly matches before switching allegiance to Northern Ireland

Uncapped midfielder Ellie Mason has been included in Kenny Shiels’ squad for Northern Ireland’s final World Cup qualifiers in Luxembourg and Latvia.

Lewes’ Mason, 26, represented Gibraltar in a number of friendlies in February.

Striker Kerry Beattie is named after returning to Glentoran along with Cliftonville’s Toni-Leigh Finnegan and Mid Ulster goalkeeper Lilie Woods.

Liverpool midfielder Rachel Furness is absent after making herself unavailable for “personal reasons”.

Aston Villa striker Simone Magill is missing as she continues her recovery from an ACL injury sustained in Northern Ireland’s opening Euro 2022 match against Norway.

Ash Hutton announced her retirement following NI’s final match at the Euros against hosts England while Becky Flaherty is the fourth member of the 23-player squad to miss out on the final qualifiers.

Beattie returns to the international fold after missing out on selection for the Euros while Finnegan and Woods have been rewarded for their fine domestic form in the Women’s Premiership with Cliftonville and Mid Ulster respectively.

Mason is the only new face to the Northern Ireland set-up. Born in England, she represented Gibraltar in February’s friendlies but has now switched allegiance to Northern Ireland, for which she qualifies through her maternal grandfather who was born in Ballymena.

She had two spells with Watford and has also played for Chelsea, Millwall Lionesses, Yeovil Town and London City Lionesses before the midfielder joined Lewes in 2021.

Northern Ireland will play Luxembourg on Friday, 2 September before closing their campaign in Latvia on Tuesday, 6 September.

Shiels’ side, who made history by reaching a European Championships for the first time this summer, cannot qualify for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

NI can still match second-placed Austria’s points tally if they win both their remaining matches and the Austrians lose theirs, however Shiels’ side cannot reach second place in Group D due to their inferior head-to-head record.

Northern Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: Jackie Burns (Reading), Shannon Turner (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Lilie Woods (Mid Ulster).

Defenders: Kelsie Burrows (Cliftonville), Rebecca Holloway (Racing Louisville), Abbie Magee (Cliftonville), Sarah McFadden (Durham), Rebecca McKenna (Lewes), Julie Nelson (Crusaders Strikers), Laura Rafferty (Southampton), Demi Vance (unattached), Toni-Leigh Finnegan (Cliftonville).

Midfielders: Nadene Caldwell (Glentoran), Joely Andrews (Glentoran), Chloe McCarron (Glentoran), Marissa Callaghan (Cliftonville), Louise McDaniel (Cliftonville), Ellie Mason (Lewes).

Forwards: Caitlin McGuinness (Cliftonville), Kirsty McGuinness (Cliftonville), Lauren Wade (Reading), Emily Wilson (Crusaders Strikers), Kerry Beattie (Glentoran).



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