Ellie Mason drops Gibraltar for Northern Ireland
Lewes midfielder Ellie Mason has dropped out of selection for Gibraltar women in order to play for Northern Ireland. Although selected for the Gibraltar women’s preliminary squad preparing to play against Hungary in September, Ellie Mason, who debuted against Andorra for Gibraltar has dropped out of contention for Gibraltar and opted to play for Northern Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers against Luxembourg and Latvia.
After representing Gibraltar in February in two friendly matches, one of which was at the Victoria Stadium she was this Friday selected to represent Northern Ireland who she is understood to be eligible to play for through her maternal grandparents. Her grandfather understood to have been born in Ballymena, Gibraltar’s twin city with links stretching back to the World War Two evacuation of Gibraltarians to Northern Ireland.
Ellie Mason was chased by Gibraltar selectors as far back as 2018/19 when it was revealed by relatives and friends of the player that she was eligible to play for Gibraltar through her maternal grandparents who she stated had been born in Gibraltar before moving to England. Ironically she was first recruited to play for Gibraltar through contacts made by selectors including the now former Gibraltar FA Technical Director who himself had been a part of the Northern Ireland FA prior to his arrival to Gibraltar.
At the time, back in November 2019 she told this newspaper “I hope to be able to play for them (Gibraltar) it would be a great honour and I know my grandad would have been very proud.” Gibraltar selectors had to wait to this year to be able to select her after she picked up a serious injury. However, they were to keep in contact with the player and provided her with her first chance to play just weeks after her return to play in England and after she had moved from the Lionesses to Lewes.
Although selectors had seen her as a key part of the Gibraltar squad and was in line to continue playing for Gibraltar, they were only to find out that she had instead opted to play for Northern Ireland after the Gibraltar women’s preliminary squad was announced.