PHOTO: Alannah McEvoy of Republic of Ireland and Ylinn Tennebø of Norway during their UEFA European Women’s Under 17 Championship Group B match. (Credit: UEFA)
Ireland WU17: Late header seals narrow Norway defeat at European Championships
Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 17s suffered late heartbreak as their hopes of qualification to the semi-final stage of the European Championships ended
A late header from Norway captain Rikke Bogetveit Nygard sealed a narrow defeat as Ireland wasted a number of good chances during the second half at the Plzen City Stadium.
The defeat leaves Ireland bottom of the group after defeats against England and Norway, with Ireland set to travel home after their final group game against Netherlands on Monday, May 8.
However, it could have been a different story if Ireland took their chances at the beginning of the second half. After a cagey first half, Ireland dominated much of the second half and should have took the lead through the brilliant Alannah McEvoy.
Returning captain Tiegan Ruddy found the pacey McEvoy with a 50-yard ball and after using her pace to get down the left side of the defence, McEvoy’s left-footed goal-bound effort was blocked.
The chances kept coming as McEvoy won the ball on the right to cross for Mackey at the far post but her tame effort was well saved in the 54th minute.
With 20 minutes remaining, Ireland wasted another golden opportunity. This time, a left-sided corner was floated in and Ruddy header’s was dropped by the keeper and Megan Mackey couldn’t follow up.
Norway became stronger in the final stages of the game and were rewarded with a late winner as Nygard’s header keeps Norway’s hopes of qualification alive.
WU17s Head Coach Dave Bell said: “It was tough to see us lose the game. We had a game-plan and I thought we stuck to the game-plan really well.
“We said if we draw the game, that’s not the end of the world as we’d still be in the melting pot for the final game against Netherlands but it wasn’t to be.
“Unfortunately, the goal came a few minutes from the end and it puts us out of the tournament. I can only give the players great praise though, they’ve done everything of what we’ve asked of them and they should be proud of themselves.”
Republic of Ireland WU17s team v Norway: 1. Erica Turner (GK), 5. Sadhbh Doyle, 8. Tiegan Ruddy, 3. Lauryn Grier, 7. Aisling Spillane (2. Eabha O’Mahony 37 (15. Carla McManus 69)), 6. Tyler Toland, 12. Doireann Fahey (14. Orla Casey 62), 10. Megan Mackey, 18. Jessica Ziu, 9. Alannah McEvoy, 11. Heather Payne.
Republic of Ireland WU17 Squad
Goalkeepers: Erica Turner (UCD Waves), Rachael Kelly (Shelbourne LFC)
Defenders: Isibeal Atkinson (Enniskerry), Doireann Fahey (Peamount United), Sadhbh Doyle (Galway WFC), Eabha O’Mahony (Lakewood), Roisin McGovern (Enniskerry), Lauryn Grier (Kentstown Rovers)
Midfielders: Tyler Toland (Maiden City), Megan Mackey (Chelsea LFC), Tiegan Ruddy (Shelbourne LFC), Aisling Spillane (Peamount United), Orla Casey (Evergreen), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne LFC), Phoebe Warner (West Bromwich Albion)
Forwards: Alannah McEvoy (Enniskerry), Carla McManus (Peamount United), Heather Payne (Peamount United)
Republic of Ireland WU17s tournament fixture schedule
2 May, 2017: Republic of Ireland 0-5 England, KO 11.00, Na Litavce, Pribram (CZE)
5 May, 2017: Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway, KO 11.00, Doosan Arena, Plzen (CZE)
8 May 2017 – Netherlands v Republic of Ireland, KO 14.00, Domazlice Stadium, Domazlice (CZE)