Lewes defender McKenna delighted with match-winning strike for Northern Ireland

Lewes defender Rebecca McKenna has described scoring a winning goal for Northern Ireland in a FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 qualifying match as ‘quite special’.

The 21-year-old is one of the most exciting young players in the Northern Ireland set-up and she has a very big future ahead of her with The Green and White Army.

Since making her senior international debut against Kazakhstan in 2018, McKenna has gradually eased her way into the Northern Ireland side, proving her quality to head coach Kenny Shiels time and time again. McKenna’s value to the team was again highlighted on Friday evening when the player netted an 85th-minute winning goal for Northern Ireland in their 2-1 FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 qualifying victory over Luxembourg.

When speaking to FAWSL Full-Time in a Northern Ireland media session, McKenna expressed her delight at being the match winner.

“It’s always a special feeling scoring for your country,” McKenna said. “To score the winner and to help get the three points for your country, it’s quite special.”

It has been a busy period for McKenna with the player representing Northern Ireland at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 then starting the new domestic season with Lewes before returning back to the international scene one again. McKenna said that it has been a hectic time but being an international player is always real honour.

She said “It has been quite a quick turnaround, it only feels like we were at the EUROs a few weeks back.

“Everyone loves to play for their country and every time I come into the squad, it is an enjoyable time.”

McKenna has been joined in the latest Northern Ireland selection by Lewes teammate Ellie Mason who has recently switched her allegiances from Gibraltar to The Green and White Army. McKenna said that her club teammate will bring further quality to the side.

“She’s captain at Lewes so she obviously has leadership qualities,” McKenna said. “She’s a good all-round player, she’s versatile, she always works hard and she’s a real team player.”

McKenna and Northern Ireland return to action on Tuesday afternoon when Shiels’ side face Latvia in Jūrmalas.