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Ireland player ratings: Connolly, O’Sullivan and McCabe shine on glorious night in Helsinki

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Ireland players, including captain Katie McCabe, centre, and Denise O'Sullivan, right, celebrate their Women's World Cup 2023 qualifying victory over Finland in Helsinki. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland players, including captain Katie McCabe, centre, and Denise O'Sullivan, right, celebrate their Women's World Cup 2023 qualifying victory over Finland in Helsinki. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland players, including captain Katie McCabe, centre, and Denise O'Sullivan, right, celebrate their Women's World Cup 2023 qualifying victory over Finland in Helsinki. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Here’s how the Girls in Green rated after their 2023 World Cup qualifying win over Finland in Helsinki.

Courtney Brosnan 8

Like her side, has emerged from a rocky period to copperfasten her retention of the number one jersey. Dominant in the multiple aerial assaults from a Finnish side who repeatedly launched crosses in her direction.

Niamh Fahey 8

Saved an almost certain second-half goal and thundered into several other challenges to complete a remarkable defensive performance when it was needed, particularly in the desperate late salvo.

Louise Quinn 7

Stood up on one occasion as she was last Thursday and herself and Fahey got tangled allowing a free header for Koivisto in the second-half but otherwise a commandeering presence against the teak-tough Finns.

Savannah McCarthy 7

The last week has definitively proved to be a coming of age for the part-timer who has established her presence in defence amidst some grumblings amongst Diane Caldwell’s support base.

Aine O’Gorman 7

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Continues to defy preconceptions and her darting forward advances were important in reining in the Finnish advances. She was key in the battle to win the ball and set up the eventual winning goal.

Megan Connolly 9

Outstanding performance sitting in midfield, though not adverse to knitting forward passes together, was capped by a stunning free-kick, only her second goal in 30 appearances.

Jamie Finn 8

A player who has demonstrated the advances that can be made once a player leaves the domestic scene. Finn reverted to a more orthodox midfield position after her temporary re-location to right-back last week and worked tirelessly and not without skill.

Denise O’Sullivan 9

Brushed off concerns after last Thursday’s elbow knock and even if clearly affected by the abuse scandal which has engulfed her American employers, O’Sullivan, mostly on the left as a more mobile outlet, revelled in the freedom and ultimately her crowning goal derived from there. Battered and bullied by robust tacklers but stood tall.

Katie McCabe 9

Arsenal star is enjoying a rich vein of form for club and country, her prowess with the league leaders clearly feeding into her international form. She is in a contented place at the moment and her ravishing enthusiasm typifies her ebullience.

Lucy Quinn 7

Another tireless effort from the recently acquired international goal-scoring source who remains an intelligent linking option in a still nascent passing pattern of play as well as making willing unused runs. Key to second goal but one booking away from a suspension.

Heather Payne 7

Pace remains a vital asset to this team and dove-tailed neatly with her ability to deliver a well-pitched cross when she devilishly arrowed a ball across the goal to prompt the havoc for the winner. Also key role in winning free-kick for Connolly’s howitzer.

Substitute: Rianna Jarrett 6

Came on for final 15 minutes ostensibly as an outlet but asked to stem the onrushing flow of Finnish danger.

Manager: Vera Pauw 8

Stuck rigidly to her theory that exposing Ireland to intense opposition, as well as inviting ridicule, would steel her squad for challenges such as presented in Helsinki on Tuesday evening. On this evidence, her high-risk gambit has paid early dividends.


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