O'Sullivan's hat-trick sees Ireland cruise past Israelis
Republic of Ireland 3
FIONA O'SULLIVAN'S hat-trick handed the Ireland women's team a comfortable victory in their final World Cup qualifier at the Carlisle Grounds last night.
San Francisco native O'Sullivan took her tally to six goals in five international appearances as the Irish clinched third spot in their group behind Russia and Switzerland.
For interim manager Sue Ronan this result secured four points from her two games in charge following the departure of Noel King.
Ireland should have gone ahead in the 20th minute when Niamh Fahy got her head to a Sonya Hughes free-kick but visiting goalkeeper Iris Antman made a top-class save.
The home side were frustrated for the rest of the half but Mary Therese McDonnell had a chance in first-half injury-time when she burst in from the left but her shot was off target. Another Hughes free-kick found Fahy's head in the 52nd minute but once again Antman produced a save at her near post.
O'Sullivan opened the scoring in the 59th minute with a brilliant strike from 30 yards that flew past the visiting goalkeeper into the bottom corner. She added her second four minutes later when she drilled home from close range after Israel failed to clear an Aine O'Gorman corner.
O'Gorman's evening ended in bizarre fashion when she was ordered off for a second bookable offence in the 70th minute for taking a free-kick before the referee had signalled to proceed.
Ireland continued to dominate even with 10 players and O'Sullivan secured her hat-trick in the 80th minute after running onto a Meabh de Burca pass before slotting home.
IRELAND -- Byrne; S McDonnell, Tracy, Fahy, MT McDonnell, De Burca (Roche 88), C Grant, Hughes, O'Gorman, Smyth (Russell 85), O'Sullivan (Connor 90).
ISRAEL -- Antman; Redman, Ravitz (Aboo-Shanab 89), Barqui, Sade, Fridman, Y Cohen (N Cohen 91), Shino (Stein 76), Sendel, Tvil, Erez.
Ref -- EM Martinez (Spain).