Republic of Ireland

A 90th minute winner earned World No 7 Canada a narrow victory over a gallant Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team at the Cyprus Cup in Nicosia’s GSP Stadium today.

It ensured that the Canadians, who will host next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, finished in fifth place at the tournament with the Irish, who were ranked 12th of the 12 competing nations, ending up sixth.

A massive 26 world ranking places separate the two sides but Ireland showed no fear as they grabbed a 12th minute lead through Ruesha Littlejohn and they held it until the 56th minute when Diana Matheson scored. Ireland captain and goalkeeper Emma Byrne, who equalled Ciara Grant’s appearance record of 105 caps today, made a string of superb saves before being beaten again the 90th minute when Sophie Schmidt scored from close range to deny the Irish another outstanding result after another magnificent performance.

It was Ireland’s first defeat in seven games, a run that stretched back 12 months to last year’s Cyprus Cup defeat by Finland, and only their second loss in 12 games. Ireland’s next game will be on Saturday, April 5, at Tallaght Stadium when they face World No 2 and current European champions Germany as they resume their World Cup qualifying campaign.

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