Republic of Ireland 3-0 Estonia
Opening victory for Ireland WU19 sealed by McManus brace against Estonia
Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 19s secured victory over Estonia in their first UEFA European Championship qualifying group game.
Cork City WFC striker Saoirse Noonan took just a minute to put Ireland ahead and Peamount United’s Carla McManus notched a second-half brace to earn three points in their opening group game.
Dave Connell’s side were in complete control throughout the entire 90 minutes and took less than 60 seconds to go ahead. Noonan was quick to react after a poor back-pass and she was able to side-foot the ball home with the opposition goalkeeper off her line.
Lauren Kelly almost added to the tally just minutes later as Ireland continued to put Estonia under fierce pressure throughout the first half but despite the best efforts of Noonan, Chloe McNamee and Orla Casey, the Estonians restricted Ireland to a 1-0 lead at the break.
The second half continued in the same manner and Ireland secured the victory thanks to an impressive double from substitute McManus. In the 55th minute, Estonia once again gave away possession in defence and McManus nicked in to claim the ball and fire home from an acute angle.
McManus notched her second just five minutes later as Noonan turned provider with a low cross to the Peamount United striker and she rifled home to seal an all-important victory.
It’s the ideal start for the Women’s Under 19’s, who were delayed flying out to the Netherlands due to storm Ophelia, as they look ahead to their next test against Latvia on Saturday, October 21 with kick-off at 11:00am.
WU19 Head Coach Dave Connell said: “I’m delighted for the girls. It was a really impressive performance from start to finish. The statistics speak for themselves, we had over 30 shots during the game and we were rarely tested so it was a fantastic performance.
“There were a bit of nerves early doors but in fairness, we were creating plenty of chances but weren’t able to take many of them during the first half. It left the opportunity for Estonia to come back into the game but we made two changes at the break with Carla McManus and Lauryn O’Callaghan, and we pressed them high up the pitch and it paid off.
“It wasn’t ideal being delayed by a day due to the storm but in fairness to the players, they focused on the task in hand and got on with the job. With everything going on, it could have distracted the players but they did really well in the end.
“We played some really nice stuff so the players should take plenty of confidence from the game as we look to the game against Latvia on Saturday.”
Republic of Ireland line-up: McAloon; Craven, Farrelly, Doyle, Warner, Singleton; Ruddy, Kelly, Noonan (Reybet-Degat 70), McNamee (McManus 46), Casey (O’Callaghan 46).
Republic of Ireland Women’s Under 19s squad
Naoisha McAloon (Peamount United),
Sophie Lenihan (Wexford Youths)
Sadhbh Doyle (Galway WFC),
Chloe Singleton (Galway WFC),
Tiegan Ruddy (Shelbourne Ladies),
Lauryn O’Callaghan (Peamount United),
Lynn Craven (Shelbourne Ladies),
Jade Reddy (Peamount United)
Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United),
Orla Casey (Wexford Youths),
Phoebe Warner (Aston Villa),
Tara O’Gorman (Cork City WFC),
Keelin McEntee (UCD Waves),
Daniele Burke (Cork City WFC),
Leah Reybet Degat (Team Vaud)
Carla McManus (Peamount United),
Chloe McNamee (Shelbourne Ladies),
Saoirse Noonan (Cork City WFC),
Kate Mooney (Shelbourne Ladies)
Lauren Kelly (UCD Waves)
Saturday, October 21:
Republic of Ireland v Latvia, 11am, Marsdijk, Assen
Tuesday, October 24:
Republic of Ireland v Netherlands, 5pm, Marsdijk, Assen