Ireland Women's U17s score 14-goal win to begin Euro qualifiers

Ireland Women's U17s score 14-goal win to begin Euro qualifiers
Emily Whelan completed a hat-trick

Republic of Ireland Women's Under-17s recorded an impressive 14-0 win over Albania in their first match of the UEFA European Championships Qualifying Round.

Emily Kraft, on her international debut, scored four goals whilst Emily Whelan notched a hat-trick as Ireland scored seven goals in each half to record an emphatic victory.

It only took three minutes to open the scoring as captain Eabha O'Mahony converted a penalty before Whelan scored her first five minutes later. FFC Frankfurt's Kraft opened her account in the ninth-minute before Jessica Ziu added a fourth with just 21-minutes on the clock.

Kraft, Whelan and O'Mahony all added second goals before the break as Colin Bell's side went into the break seven goals up. Ireland showed no signs of slowing down in the second 45-minutes as Kraft scored her third and fourth within the first five minutes of the second-half, and Shelbourne striker Whelan completed her hat-trick just two minutes later.

Ziu scored from the penalty spot in the 66th-minute to complete her brace before a late flurry of goals increased the scoreline further for Ireland. Athlone Town's Katelyn Keogh came off the bench to score a late brace and Mia Dodd added the final goal of the game in the final minute of injury time.

"The girls played some excellent football. We started off extremely focused and the attitude from the first minute was absolutely brilliant," said WU17 Head Coach Colin Bell.

"From the very first minute, we created chances and once we scored, the players just kept going and scored some fantastic goals which is important for the confidence of the players. These goals could be really important at the end of the qualifying round with the goal difference but it also gives us the right mentality.

"We've got two tough matches coming up against Wales and Serbia so it's important we don't become complacent after this and concentrate on getting two more positive results. We'll be going to watch the Wales and Serbia match this afternoon so the players can see what we'll be facing.

"Emily Kraft did really well. She's a really robust player, very physical and gives us another dimension. She trains five or six times a week in Germany and the players have really taken to her straight away so it's great to see."

Republic of Ireland: Courtney Maguire, Shauna Brennan, Mia Dodd, Ellie Ferguson, Orla Prendergast (Aoibhin Clancy 46), Jessica Ziu, Eabha O'Mahony (C), Emily Whelan (Sophie Liston 81), Rebecca Cooke (Blessing Kingsley 46), Emily Kraft (Katelyn Keogh 67), Therese Kinneavey.

Albania: Antigona Hyska (Vosjana Fera 50), Ornela Lleshi, Matilda Gjergji, Selma Armoku (Joana Mile 90), Iris Armoku (Ksenja Rizallaraj 33, Joana Nicku 90), Klea Hamonikaj, Denada Avullija, Mikaela Metalla (C), Amarda Xhebrahimi (Iniada Delilaj 90), Katerina Simoni, Fabiola Caka.

Referee: Meitar Shemesh (ISR)

Digital Desk

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