Ireland Women’s U17s and Switzerland play out draw in Spain
Switzerland 2-2 Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland Women’s U17 side drew 2-2 with Switzerland in the first of two friendly games in Castellon, Spain, yesterday afternoon.
Dave Bell’s side bounced back from 2-0 down to score through a Carla McManus penalty in the 67th minute and a Heather Payne equaliser five minutes later.
The fixtures in Spain this week will help the Irish girls prepare for their UEFA Elite Qualifying Round test in March when they travel to Serbia to face the hosts, Hungary and Scotland vying to secure a place in this summer’s finals in the Czech Republic.
Switzerland took the lead on the stroke of half-time after an Irish pass was intercepted in midfield and the Swiss capitalised with a clever through pass that sent Jost Jael through to fire home.
The Irish suffered a blow when they went 2-0 down in the 61st minute but Bell was delighted with the resolve his side showed to turn their fortunes around and secure a draw.
After having a penalty appeal for a challenge on Heather Payne dismissed the Irish were awarded a spot-kick in the 67th minute after a Swiss defender was penalised for hand-ball and Carla McManus stepped up to shoot home from the spot-kick.
An excellent flowing move was finished off by Payne in the 72nd minute to seal the draw and with such a young group of players in the squad Bell believes it augurs well for the future.
“For us this is a great result. The Swiss players train together all the time and are in school together so they get to work together far more often than our players,” he said.
“I’m very pleased with how our younger players have really excelled including two U15s in this squad, Eabha O’Mahoney and Taylor White, who’ve been super. It’s a great experience for them. They’re really good players and are in the squad because they’re good enough.
“I felt the girls did really well today. They had played very well in the first half and the opening goal came just on half-time and I felt it was against the run of play as we were the stronger side before that.
“The second goal might have knocked our confidence but the girls responded brilliantly and fully deserved to draw the game. These games are about preparing for the UEFA WU17 Championships Elite Qualifying Round but with a young squad and a lot of them eligible again next season, we’re learning a lot here.
“Another bonus this week has been having the Ireland assistant coach Steve Guppy here with us. He’s been of great benefit to myself and the girls and I know that they have really learned a lot from working with him.”
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U17 SQUAD:
Erica Turner, Lauryn Grier, Sadhbh Doyle, Tyler Toland, Tiegan Ruddy, Alannah McEvoy, Megan Mackey, Doireann Fahey, Carla McManus, Eabha O’Mahony. Subs: Aisling Spillane for O’Mahony 49 mins; Taylor White for Fahey 65; Roisin McGovern for Grier 68; Gillian Keenan for McManus 68.