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National identity

John McGrady believes the wealth of international experience in the Cliftonville Ladies camp can hold them in good stead for this evening’s Champions League action.

The Reds’ first ever game on the European stage sees them go to to toe with footballing royalty in Benfica and, despite being the lowest ranked team in the tournament, McGrady is determined that his side will be competitive and wants his international stars to lead by example in Seixal.

“They have played in the Euros and some big games all over the world,” he says of the Cliftonville squad.

“They already know what it’s like in major competition and that will only help us all.

“Benfica are a very good side with some top players. They had players involved at the World Cup – not just Portuguese but Brazilians, too.

“They are an aggressive attacking side who like to press high up the pitch and attack at pace.”

Though handed one of the toughest draws in the Champions League, McGrady admits he’s pleased that his players will sample such a high profile occasion.

“It’s amazing to have a big draw like this,” he adds.

“What can be better than going up against one of Europe’s biggest names? I think in any Cup draw, everyone always looks out for the big Clubs and it’s the same in Europe.”