Megan Frazer: Injured Ireland women's captain could miss all World Cup qualifiers

Megan Frazer in action against Spain in June
Frazer will definitely miss Ireland's opening World Cup qualifiers in January

Ireland women's hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup finals have been dealt a blow with the news that skipper Megan Frazer could be ruled out of the entire qualifying period by injury.

Frazer, 26, sustained serious knee ligament damage in a training session with German club Mannheimer.

She will undergone surgery next week and will definitely miss the opening qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur in January.

Frazer could also be a doubt for the final qualifiers next July.

Ireland should be capable of progressing from the Malaysian tournament in January when they will be up against lower-ranked opposition and require only a top-three finish.

However the next stage of the process in either Belgium or South Africa will be much more taxing as Ireland will need to beat higher-ranked nations to qualify.

The Londonderry woman was distraught after suffering the injury in seemingly innocuous circumstances.

She said: "I have completely ruptured my anterior cruciate and partially torn my medial cruciate ligament and I am having surgery on 3 November and it will take six to nine months recovery from then."

"I am completely devastated that I am missing the tournament in Malaysia for definite and also unable to finish my first season with Mannheimer.

"I was running fast with the ball unopposed in training and went to pass it off my right foot but it just gave way and I fell and it was extremely painful."

Mannheimer's Director of Sport, Peter Leemen added: "She will be operated on by a specialist, who has already performed this type of surgery on other players in the team."

"The cartilage in the knee is completely in order which is important for a good healing process but it´s is such a pity as Megan was settling in so well with the club and her team-mates."

Frazer was able to travel with the Ireland squad for two international defeats in Belgium earlier this week and found the experience at least went some way towards cushioning the blow.

She added: "It was great to be around the team again and it really lifted my mood. Luckily I don't have too much pain and have started to work on my pre-surgery exercises."