Republic of Ireland get 2019 World Cup qualification campaign off to a winning start in Northern Ireland
Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team made a winning start to their FIFA 2019 World Cup qualification campaign with a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland.
Colin Bell’s side controlled the game throughout and went ahead on the stroke of half-time as Rachel Furness headed into her own net. Megan Campbell doubled the lead half-way through the second-half with a brilliant strike as Ireland claimed an important three points.
Bell went for an experienced side with the likes of Niamh Fahey and Karen Duggan making up a strong midfield as Katie McCabe led the team out for the first time.
Ireland took time to settle but almost went ahead just after the half-hour as Campbell’s bullet-throw found Stephanie Roche and her header came off the bar in the 33rd minute.
Six minutes later, Ireland were denied again but by the keeper this time as Campbell’s throw found Louise Quinn and her header was brilliantly saved off the line, and Diane Caldwell failed to convert.
Just as it looked Ireland would go into the break level, they found the break-through. Once again, Campbell’s throw towards the near post caused all the problems as Rachel Furness glanced her throw past the keeper and into her own net in the last seconds of the first-half.
Quinn almost got herself on the scoresheet as her fierce effort from a corner was well-blocked by Jessica Foy, but they didn’t have to wait long to double their lead.
In the 68th minute, Manchester City star Campbell saw her throw-in cleared back to herself on the right and from 25-yards, she curled the ball home brilliantly with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Ireland continued to create chances but failed to add to their tally as they get their campaign off to a winning start against Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, striker Stephanie Roche was stretchered off in the final stages of the game and was brought to hospital for a scan after the final whistle.
WNT Head Coach Colin Bell said: “It was a great performance from the team and I’m delighted to be going home with the points.
“We could have scored a few more goals than we did but we’ve learnt a lot from tonight’s game and I’m sure we’ll continue to improve as the campaign continues.
“It is a real positive to be able to bring Tyler Toland and Amber Barrett on to make their debuts. It is a big moment for them and I’m sure they both have a huge future with the team ahead of them.
“We wait for news on Stephanie. We hope she hasn’t suffered a bad injury as she is a crucial member of the team.”
Republic of Ireland team v Northern Ireland: Hourihan (GK), Scott, Quinn, Caldwell, Campbell (Toland 80), Duggan, Fahey, McCabe (C), O’Sullivan, O’Gorman (Kiernan 20), Roche (Barrett 86).
Subs not used: McQuillan (GK), Walsh, Perry, O’Riordan.
Video: Interview with Colin Bell
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