Wednesday 19 December 2018

Ireland continue perfect start to World Cup qualifying campaign

Slovakia 0 Ireland 2

Katie McCabe, 11, is congratulated by her Republic of Ireland team-mates
Katie McCabe, 11, is congratulated by her Republic of Ireland team-mates

John Fallon in Senec

So far so good for Colin Bell’s Ireland women as they continued the winning start to their World Cup qualification campaign last night in Senec.

First-half goals from Denise O’Sullivan and captain Katie McCabe were sufficient for the Girls in Green to build upon last month's opening win over Northern Ireland.

They could even afford to miss a penalty with 10 minutes left as substitute Ruesha Littlejohn saw her effort turned around the post by Maria Korenclova.

It was far from swashbuckling stuff by the Irish but they've developed a resilient streak since Bell's appointment in February, keeping seven clean sheets in the nine matches under his tenure.

Denise O'Sullivan, right, is congratulated
Denise O'Sullivan, right, is congratulated

Ireland now head to Nijmegen on November 28 for a meeting with European Champions Holland full of confidence.

Megan Campbell's throw-ins had played a major part in Ireland’s win over the north and another of her missiles led to the breakthrough after just 11 minutes.

Spotting McCabe unmarked down the left, Campbell flung a throw from the halfway line to her teammate who cut the ball back for O'Sullivan to prod a low half-volley past Korenclova.

Slovakia's defensive frailties were exposed again on 33 minutes when they failed to deal with a cross from the other side by substitute Sophie Perry. When Amber Barrett rolled the ball back for the onrushing McCabe, her drilled effort found the net via a deflection.

Denise O'Sullivan is congratulated after her goal against Slovakia
Denise O'Sullivan is congratulated after her goal against Slovakia

Ireland remained comfortable after the break, with Marie Hourihan rarely worked in goal. Instead, they could have extended the margin when Celtic's Littlejohn earned a penalty just two minutes after coming on when dragged down by Lucie Harsanyova. Korenclova guessed right to inflict the only blot on Ireland’s night.

SLOVAKIA: M Korenclova; L Suskova, L Harsanyova, A Biroova, J Vojtekova; M Mikolajova, V Susolova; M Surnovska (K Fabova 78), D Bartovicova, P Hmirova; D Skorvankova (S Liskova 62).

IRELAND: M Hourihan; H Scott, L Quinn, D Caldwell, M Campbell; N Fahey, T Toland (McLaughlin 90); L Kiernan (S Perry 30), D O'Sullivan, K McCabe; A Barrett (Littlejohn 77).

Referee: T Laos (EST)

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