Sue Ronan happy with training game performance against Norway
Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team manager Sue Ronan was happy with the performance as her team lost 3-1 to World No.9 Norway in a training game at their Winter Training Camp in La Manga today.
Norway scored at the beginning of each half through Ada Stolsmo Hegerberg and again in the final ten minutes from Gry Tofte Ims while Fiona O’Sullivan got Ireland’s goal just before half-time.
“The game was never going to be about the result given that it was the first time this year that our players had played a match,” said Ronan. “Overall I am pleased with the performance. All the players were ring rusty, some more than others, but there were also some good individual displays which was encouraging. We would be unhappy with the three goals we conceded so we will take lessons from the game, but overall it wasn’t a bad start to the year against a very strong Norway side that is going to be one of the major contenders at this summer’s World Cup in Canada.”
Ronan gave underage stars Rianna Jarrett and Katie McCabe their first taste of senior international football but unfortunately Jarrett’s experience only lasted a few minutes. She sustained a heavy fall and was taken off with a knee injury with Fiona O’Sullivan coming on to replace her.
By that stage Ireland were already 1-0 down having conceded a goal after four minutes while Niamh Fahey was off the pitch receiving treatment for a bloody nose. A disputed corner was floated to the back post and Hegerberg headed home. Ireland equalised in the 41st minute when a long throw from Megan Campbell caused confusion in the Norwegian defence and Denise O’Sulivan teed up Fiona O’Sullivan to score from close range.
Niamh Reid Burke and Emma Burke and were introduced at half-time for Emma Byrne and Louise Quinn but Norway again struck early in the half when a quick break ended with a Hegerberg making a good run and slipping the ball past the advancing Reid Burke.
Ireland then lost Megan Campbell with a back injury and she was replaced by Rachel Graham as Niamh Fahey moved back to join Diane Caldwell in the centre of defence. Stephanie Roche, Lauren Dwyer and Carol Breen were all introduced in the second half as Ronan made full use of the training game status.
Both Denise O’Sullivan and Fiona O’Sullivan went close to equalising before Norway stretched their lead ten minutes from the end when a punched clearance from Reid Burke was met first time on the volley at the edge of the box by Gry Tofte Ims and her right-footed effort cannoned in off the post.
“We were unlucky with injuries. Niamh Fahey was off the pitch when they scored their first and it was disappointing to lose Rianna Jarrett so early as I was looking forward to seeing her in action at this level. We moved Diane Caldwell out of midfield and in at centre back at half-time when we took Louise Quinn off and then we had to move Niamh Fahey back when Megan Campbell went off just after half-time.”
The squad will return home tomorrow and next up will be the Istria Cup in Croatia from March 3 to 13.
Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne (Arsenal); Aine O’Gorman (UCD Waves), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United), Megan Campbell (Florida State University), Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion); Niamh Fahey (Chelsea), Diane Caldwell (Avaldsnes), Denise O’Sullivan (Glasgow City), Julie Ann Russell (UCD Waves), Rianna Jarrett (Wexford Youths Women’s AFC), Katie McCabe (Raheny United). Subs: Fiona O’Sullivan (Notts County) for Jarrett, Niamh Reid-Burke (Raheny United) for Byrne, Emma Beckett (Unattached) for Quinn, Rachel Graham (Raheny United) for Campbell, Stephanie Roche (ASPTT Albi) for McCabe, Lauren Dwyer (Raheny United) for F O’Sullivan, Carol Breen (Wexford Youths Women’s AFC) for O’Gorman. Unused Substitute: Siobhan Killeen (Raheny United),
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