Campbell and Jarrett leave Irish on brink of World Cup qualification
Ireland U-17 2
Sweden U-17 1
Published 16/04/2010 | 05:00
IRISH women's soccer received a massive boost yesterday when the U-17s beat Sweden in the elite qualifying phase of the European Championship in the Ukraine to book a semi-final date with Germany.
The competition will reach its climax in Nyon, Switzerland, from June 22-26. The Netherlands will play Spain in the other semi-final.
The top three teams will advance to the FIFA Women's U-17 World Cup, which will take place in Trinidad and Tobago in September.
Ireland went into the game knowing that only a victory would ensure qualification to June's four-team finals and and they got off to a terrible start, with Sweden going ahead in the third minute.
However, Noel King's girls battled hard and were rewarded with second-half goals from substitute Rianna Jarrett and defender Megan Campbell.
Ireland responded superbly after Magdalena Ericsson had bundled in an early corner. They dominated possession, with Dora Gorman and Ciara Grant immense in central midfield and wingers Aileen Gilroy and Siobhan Killeen giving their markers a torrid time, but they could not find a way through a well-organised Swedish defence.
Ireland maintained their intensity after the interval and Killeen came desperately close, flashing a shot just wide after Gilroy's cross was only half cleared.
Jarrett came on in the 49th minute and immediately posed problems. In the 58th minute, the imposing striker hit the equaliser, dispatching a penalty after Denise O'Sullivan had been hauled down in the area.
Goalkeeper Grace Moloney had to pull off a fine save to deny Jonna Andersson before, on 65 minutes, Campbell smashed home the winning goal from a free-kick on the edge of the box, arrowing her shot into the bottom corner.
Republic of Ireland -- G Moloney, M Campbell, J Byrne, J Gleeson, C O'Brien, C Grant, A Gilroy, D Gorman (capt), D O'Sullivan, S Donnelly (R Jarrett 49), S Killeen.