Ireland Women’s Under 17s open campaign with stylish win
The Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 17s displayed their quality in Turner’s Cross as they overcame Faroe Islands 6-0 in their opening Group 10 qualifier.
Three goals from Carla McManus, two from Alannah McEvoy and one from Orla Casey ensured Dave Bell’s side seized control of their first of three UEFA European Championship Qualifying Round games.
Set up in a 4-3-3 system, Ireland moved the ball incredibly well around the pitch and complimented their assured passing with some astute running off the ball – Faroes struggled to keep up with them.
The mobility and dominance shown by captain Tiegan Ruddy in midfield as assisted by Megan Mackey and Tyler Toland, while Heather Payne and Isibeal Carolan stretched the pitch by dragging their markers out wide.
Once service was fed into the danger area, Ireland always looked likely to score. So when Payne burst down the right wing and squared a cross, McEvoy was in the right place to convert on 12 minutes.
McEvoy didn’t have to wait too long for her second of the night as the tricky forward pounced on 25 minutes. Once again she linked up with Payne and this time produced a long-range finish to the back of the net.
Apart from the goals, Bell would have been pleased by his team’s performance. Goalkeeper Erica Turner didn’t have much to do but stayed alert, while her back four maintained their shape and shut down their opponents on counter attacks.
Carolan almost made it three when she connected with a whipped cross but her effort rebounded back off the post, while the opposing goalkeeper blocked well from a shot unloaded by Payne.
Substitute McManus, however, found a way through on 66 minutes when she latched onto a pass from Ruddy to rifle a shot in. It was a sweet finish and well deserved following a period of dominant play.
As they continued to power forward, Ireland exploited the speed of McManus and she was unlucky to see a chipped effort rattle the crossbar. But she got a reward on 72 minutes with her second goal of the goal following good work again by Ruddy.
McManus rounded off her hat-trick in added time, but only after another substitute, Casey, had added her name to the scoresheet as Bell’s team proved far too strong for their visitors.
The three points will give Ireland confidence that they can qualify for the Elite Round, but it is simply all about their next mission: Friday night against Belarus in Turner’s Cross.
Republic of Ireland: Turner; Lobato (Mannix 48), Doyle, Fahey, Grier (Casey 72); Mackey, Ruddy, Toland; Payne, McEvoy, Carolan (McManus 56).
Faroe Islands: Mikkelsen; Jacobsen, Rebekka J Olsen, Andreasen, Mortensen; Runa Olsen (S Olsen 56), Danielsen; Rebekka K Olsen, Torolvsdottir, Lamhauge (Henriksen 72); Hansdottir (Rasmusdottir 41).
Referee: Irena Velevackoska (MKD).