Friday 30 September 2016

Flying Finns end Irish Euro hopes

Finland 4 Ireland 1

John Fallon

Published 04/06/2016 | 02:30

Sue Ronan’s side were miles off the pace and can have no gripe in three months’ time when Finland translate their second-place status to either a Play-off or automatic qualification for Photo credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Sue Ronan’s side were miles off the pace and can have no gripe in three months’ time when Finland translate their second-place status to either a Play-off or automatic qualification for Photo credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

In what was billed as their best chance of reaching a major tournament, Ireland's women are out of the Euro qualification reckoning with two games left.

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The comprehensive manner of the defeat to Finland in Valkeakoski should be a reality check to those in the FAI who may have believed the gap to some of the middle nations in Europe, never mind leading ones, was closing.

Sue Ronan's side were miles off the pace and can have no gripe in three months' time when Finland translate their second-place status into automatic qualification for next year's showpiece in Holland or at least a play-off.

Finland's goals all came down Ireland's left side, the breakthrough arriving on 32 minutes. Emmi Alanen was left alone six yards out to leap high and head home a cross from Linda Sallstrom. Nine minutes later Jenny-Julia Danielsson was played onside by Sophie Perry and had the simple task of volleying beyond Emma Byrne.

The Arsenal goalkeeper's unfortunate slip 20 minutes from the end gave Natalia Kuikka an easy close-range finish.

Substitute Stephanie Roche, known for her spectacular goals, produced another one with her head from the edge of the box six minutes later but Sallstrom got the Finns' fourth on 87 minutes.

IRELAND - Byrne (Arsenal); Perry (Brighton), Quinn (Eskilstuna Utd), Fahey (Chelsea), De Burca (Galway City); Caldwell (FC Koln), Connolly (Florida State); McCabe (Arsenal), D O'Sullivan (Houston Dash), Russell (UCD Waves); O'Gorman (UCD Waves). Subs: Littlejohn (Glasgow City) for Russell (46), F O'Sullivan (California Storm) for D O'Sullivan (64), Roche (Sunderland) for O'Gorman (72).

Irish Independent

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