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McCabe rocket powers Ireland to top spot


It was a draw at the Showgrounds

It was a draw at the Showgrounds

Corbis via Getty Images

It was a draw at the Showgrounds

The Republic of Ireland topped their group at the Cyprus Cup yesterday thanks to Katie McCabe's first-half thunderbolt.

On 20 minutes centre-back Diane Caldwell picked out the run of McCabe with a 60-yard pass to the Arsenal forward, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Claire O'Riordan, making her first international start, came off at the break for Megan Connolly to ensure a defensive second half in difficult conditions in Paralimni.

Connolly could have scored a second half-way through the second period when Stephanie Roche found her on the edge of the area but her effort was well saved.

However, Ireland held firm to defend the lead and win the game.

Manager Colin Bell, whose side will look to maintain an unbeaten run in their final game against North Korea tomorrow, praised his charges' efforts.

"It was another fantastic performance where the players have given everything for the cause and fought until the final seconds to get the win we deserved," said the Englishman."In the second half, we had to keep things tight so we brought in Megan, who was able to drop in and give Karen (Duggan) more of a chance to drop back and defend the way she did.

"Wales are difficult opponents, a really good team but they didn't have one real chance in the second half, which is testament to how well we played."

"We could have snatched a second goal but I'm delighted for the team who are getting the rewards for their efforts."

Irish Independent