Celtic defender Hayes declares for Republic of Ireland

Celtic defender Caitlin Hayes has declared for the Republic of Ireland.

The 28-year-old has been training with interim boss Eileen Gleeson’s squad this week ahead of the UEFA Nations League double-header against Northern Ireland and Hungary.

Eligible through her Offaly-born grandfather, the centre-back has secured her Irish citizenship and could make the match-day squad for Saturday’s clash with the North at the Aviva Stadium.

Born in Warrington, England, Hayes came through the ranks at Everton before attending Mississippi College and launching her senior career with English Championship side Lewes.

She joined joining Celtic in 2020 and has been outstanding for the Hoops ever since.

Last season Hayes was voted the PFA Women’s Player of the Year.

It’s another central defensive option for the Girls in Green who are currently without the injured Aoife Mannion and Niamh Fahey.

“It’s incredible to come into such an environment and group of girls, and honestly just be a sponge, learn off them and hopefully bring a little to the table,” said Hayes.

“It’s just a great honour and a privilege to be around these girls each and every day. My grandfather James is from Co Offaly. My dad’s side is Irish. It is a dream that I’ve been chasing for a while and I’m thankful to have the honour and privilege to play.”

Over 38,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s historic clash with the North. It’s the first time the Ireland women’s team will have played a full international at the Lansdowne Road venue.

Watch Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland in the UEFA Nations League on Saturday from 12.30pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, follow a live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the RTÉ News app or listen to live commentary on RTÉ 2fm

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