Joelle wins Scots call-up for Cyprus Cup

CHIRNSIDE footballer Joelle Murray has been named in the Scotland squad for the 2010 Cyprus Women's Cup.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 9:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 9:59 am

The 23-year-old is among the initial 18 players named by Scotland Women's national coach Anna Signeul last week.

Joelle began playing her football at home, kicking a ball around in all weathers with fellow Chirnside footballer Liam Craig, who is now a regular in St Johnstone's first team.

A former pupil at Berwickshire High School, Joelle now lives in Edinburgh, plying her domestic trade with Scotland Premier League outfit Hibernian.

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Five Hibs stars have made the squad for the upcoming tournament, and will leave for Cyprus with the Scotland squad next week.

"We're looking forward to getting out there," she said. "We do this tournament every year, we host it out in Cyprus."

The Cyprus Women's Cup, now in its third year, is an international women's football tournament for national teams.

After the success of the first Cyprus tournament in 2008, which saw Canada lifting the trophy, it was decided to increase the number of countries participating from six to eight nations.

Scotland Ladies will kick start their Cyprus Cup campaign on February 24, and will face Italy, The Netherlands and New Zealand in group one, with defending champions England taking on Canada, South Africa and Switzerland in group two.

From the group phase, the first-placed teams advances to the final, the second-placed teams will play for third place, the third-place team advances to the match for fifth place, and the fourth-placed teams will play for seventh.

With four games in just over a week, the tournament could be a gruelling task, but it's one that Joelle is looking forward to.

"It can be very warm over there, and obviously playing in those conditions is a bit different from what we're used to," she explained.

"It's usually a small tournament spaced out over 10 or 11 days, so we often play a game one day and are straight back into training the next for a game the following day, it's very intense," she added.

The tournament comes as Scotland prepare for a Womens' World Cup qualifying double-header, with a tie in Georgia on March 27 and a home game against Bulgaria on April 1.

Currently sitting second in group three, just one point behind Denmark who have played an extra game, Scotland have high hopes of qualifying for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.

"We've started off really well," Joelle said.

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"We'll use the Cyprus Cup as preparation for the World Cup qualifiers."

And with the 2010 Scottish Premier League fixture list released at the weekend, the Hibs star is in for a busy time.

"Unfortunately I work from 8-4.30 in the week, I'm in the house for half an hour and then out to training and get back around 10," she said.

"It's pretty intense, if I didn't love playing football and playing for Hibs I wouldn't do it."

Hibernian kick off with an away fixture against Boroughmuir on March 14, followed by a home game to Kilmarnock.

"We can't wait to start, it feels like it's been forever since we've had a game," she said.