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After a whirlwind week, Northern Ireland's senior women's team are still coming to terms with their greatest achievement - qualification for next year's Euro finals. A squad made up of healthcare staff, teachers, shop workers, civil servants, students and more, all striving to play at the highest level, all making sacrifices to chase their dreams.


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Marissa Callaghan believes her nation has been inspired after Northern Ireland Women qualified for their first major tournament.

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F ive years on from one of the most memorable games in Northern Ireland's football history, the senior team once again face Ukraine, hoping for Euros glory. Kenny Shiels' battling ladies Northern ireland girls 90 minutes away from reaching next year's European Championship finals in England, and thus emulating the men's team, who made it to France for their first ever Euro finals series in Thanks to goals from Rachel Furness and Simone Magill in the first leg of the play-off in Kovalivka last week, the girls go into tonight's showdown at Seaview in north Belfast ahead.

Enter address This field is required Up. That makes them slight favourites to progress, but it's really only half time and another epic performance - in front of empty stands, unfortunately - will be needed if they are to realise their dream of reaching a major tournament. No one will be cheering more loudly than former Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley, who of course has fond memories of scoring a fantastic header against the Ukrainians in Lyon in June They need to be confident in their ability, remain composed and take Northern ireland girls chances when they arrive.

He added: "This is a great opportunity for the girls and it will be a much needed lift for women's football in Northern Ireland if they were able to create history. Meanwhile, ex-Northern Ireland captain Gail Redmond, who is co-commentating on the match - which will be shown live Northern ireland girls BBC 2 and on the BBC Sport NI website - said she felt "very privileged to be one of the lucky ones who gets to see the match live". The start of the campaign didn't go to plan - they suffered back to back defeats. He added: "It's hard to put into words what an achievement it would be to qualify.

Stephen Craigan, who captained the men's team on many occasions, said that on behalf of all Northern Ireland fans he wishes them well in their quest to make history. And now there's a genuine belief that they can do it. He added: "Women's football has been in the shadows for too long.

This is a chance for them to make history for the country and for themselves. Get quick and easy access to the latest Northern Ireland news, sport, business and opinion with the Belfast Telegraph App. On the verge of history NI's 'brilliant' women backed to clinch Euro finals place.

Expand Expand Expand Expand. Gareth McAuley celebrates his goal in Colin Murray. Gail Redmond.

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Let's hear it for the girls. This time, however, it is the women who stand on the brink of another remarkable triumph.

Video: Ballycastle beach disappears under sea mist. Video: Two-year-old Belfast girl shouts at her mum for laughing as she tries to sing a song from Frozen.