Republic of Ireland Women's U-17s

Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 17s get off to winning start.

Dave Bell celebrated a first competitive game in charge of the Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 17s with a 3-0 victory over Ukraine in their UEFA European Championship qualifiers on Thursday.

Competing in Turkey, Bell’s team had to withstand the searing afternoon heat and the quality of their opposition but they managed to do both and come out on top with a crucial win in Group 1.

Goals from Lauren Kelly, Alex Kavanagh, and Leanne Kiernan helped to secure the win, which gives Ireland an excellent chance of booking their place in the Elite Round and closer to next summer’s finals in Belarus.

“It was a hard-earned result but we had more chances that we could have scored from. I think as the game went on the better we got and we scored three very good goals,” said Bell.

“The first goal was a great header from Lauren Kelly, the second was an excellent free-kick by Alex Kavanagh, and the third was a solo effort from Leanne Kiernan. The girls worked really hard and deserved the win.

“Ukraine were a good footballing team and their game against Turkey will be a tight one, but I felt that we grew into the game more after a nervous first 10-15 minutes and I’m delighted for the girls.

“They will be tired after the game because it took a lot of them, so we will recover and prepare for the Andorra game before switching our focus to Turkey, who will be tough to beat but I feel that we have good enough players to beat them.”

Swift counter attacking from Ireland allowed them to seize control against Ukraine just before half-time when Kelly headed in from Lauryn O’Callaghan’s pass to make it 1-0.

Upon returning for the restart, Ireland continued to apply pressure and added to their advantage when Shelbourne Ladies FC ace Kavanagh superbly dispatched a free-kick on 68 minutes.

The scoring was complete when Kiernan fired in on 75 minutes just after substitute Lynn Craven had gone close with an effort and that proved to be enough for Bell’s team to take the three points.

On Saturday, they will take on Andorra – who lost their opening match 5-0 to Turkey – before meeting the hosts next Tuesday as they target top spot in Group 1.

Republic of Ireland: McAloon; Reddy (Payne 70), Doyle, O’Gorman, Green; Kavanagh, Noonan, Ruddy (Craven 49); O’Callaghan, Kelly (Homan 62), Kiernan.

Ukraine: Riabovil; Oliinyk, Tataryn, Horbach, Mozghova; Semenyuk (Bespalova 70), Ryablkina, Hryb; Cherepania (Shurubura 57), Malinovska (Hiryn 62), Kumeda.

Referee: Valentina Garoffolo (Italy).

FIXTURES & RESULTS

Republic of Ireland 3-0 Ukraine, Thursday, October 15, Izmir
Republic of Ireland v Andorra, Saturday, October 17, Izmir, KO 9:00
Turkey v Republic of Ireland, Tuesday, October 20, Kusadasi, KO 13:30

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