Ronan looking ahead as classy Spain underline Euro credentials
Ireland 0-3 Spain
Failing to pinch a result against Spain was never going to define Ireland's qualification destiny but the prospects of emulating the men's feat of shocking a footballing superpower looked beyond them from early on yesterday.
The group's top seeds were full value for their two-goal interval lead at Tallaght Stadium and the third they buried in stoppage-time underlined the dominance of a team with real hopes of winning the trophy at the 2017 finals in the Netherlands.
From an Irish perspective, with a second-place finish in the group likely enough to secure an ticket to the showpiece or, at worst, a play-off, results in next year's fixtures against Finland and Portugal will be the critical metric.
"We showed Spain too much respect in the first half and they took advantage," admitted Ronan, "there was a little bit of fear without realising it because we dropped too deep."
The first of what Ronan described as 'preventable' goals arrived on the half hour when midfielder Vicky Losada struck a low shot beyond her Arsenal clubmate Emma Byrne in the Irish goal after a miscued clearance fell into her path.
Any Irish comeback was all the more improbable a minute before the break as Jennifer Hermoso slotted home a penalty controversially awarded when Amanda Sampedro fell under the challenge of Sophie Perry.
Despite Perry going close to halving the arrears on the hour when her snap-shot forced Dolores Gallardo to tip around the post, Ireland conceded a third through Olga Garcia's curler.
IRELAND - Byrne (Arsenal); O'Gorman (UCD Waves), Fahey (Chelsea), Quinn (Eskilstuna), Perry (Brighton); Caldwell (Avaldsnes), Duggan (UCD Waves); Killeen (Shelbourne), O'Sullivan (Glasgow City), Russell (UCD Waves); Littlejohn (Celtic). Subs: De Burca (Galway) for Killeen (46), Shine (Glasgow City) for Littlejohn (67), Roche (Sunderland) for Duggan (80).