Leanne Kiernan in race to recover ahead of World Cup

Leanne Kiernan in race to recover ahead of World Cup
Grace Fisher
Grace Fisher

Republic of Ireland International Leanne Kiernan will be out of action for at least another 10 weeks, Liverpool head coach Matt Beard confirmed earlier this week.

The delay means a return in time to represent Ireland at the World Cup in July is in doubt.

Kiernan has not played since suffering an ankle injury in Liverpool's win over Chelsea last September, after which she underwent surgery.

The 23-year-old was originally expected to return to play in February, but has suffered repeated setbacks.

"She is, at the earliest, ten weeks away, unfortunately. She has had a couple of setbacks when she has been back running on the pitch," said Beard.

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"We have had a couple of different scans just to try to get to the bottom of what's happening. Obviously she had an injection to try to settle the area around the heel and the ankle."

"I think we are at the point now where the main thing is now, with the type of injury which she has had, which is a serious one, we just get her back fit and healthy."

Kiernan has 27 international caps and is regularly selected by Ireland coach Vera Pauw. Though she was in recovery during Ireland's historic World Cup qualification, the focus has been on whether or not she will be fit in time for the squad head off down under for their first ever World Cup tournament.

The latest setback means she'll miss Ireland's upcoming April camp, which will include two friendlies against the US.

Hope still remains that Kiernan will be able to play by July 7th when Ireland take to the stage in the opening game against hosts Australia, but at this point all is very much uncertain.

"I know with the World Cup looming we wanted to get her back before the end of the season and give her minutes," said Beard.

"If that happens before the end of the season then it gives her the opportunity potentially to stake a claim for the World Cup. But if not, then it will be about getting her right for the summer and pre-season."

Speaking at Sky's International Women's Day Conference earlier this week, Ireland coach Vera Pauw said it's "fingers crossed" that Kiernan will be rehabilitated in time.

"The expectation is the end of April and yes, it is a very severe injury, so we just need to see and monitor. We're not going to put huge pressure on it because this is an injury if you are a second too early then it can ruin your career."

"It's a shame for her personally, first of all, that she's now out for half a year almost. But for the team, of course, also."

Fellow internationals Ellen Molloy and Jess Ziu are already out with injuries and not expected to be back by summer.

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