Ireland's women lose again as World Cup qualifiers loom

Ireland kick off their World Cup campaign away to minnows Georgia on September 17 before facing the top two seeded sides Sweden and Finland in October
Ireland's women lose again as World Cup qualifiers loom

Republic of Ireland players, from left, Megan Connolly, Claire O'Riordan, Katie McCabe and Diane Caldwell after conceding a goal. Picture: Eythor Arnason/Sportsfile

Iceland 2 Republic of Ireland 0

Ireland’s women were beaten for a second successive game, succumbing to a pair of second-half goals in Iceland.

After a promising showing by Vera Pauw’s side in Reykjavik, in which they carved out a couple of decent chances, an early breakthrough after the interval by Berglind Björg Porvaldsdóttir swayed the friendly in the control of the hosts. They struck a second seven minutes from full-time through Bayern Munich star Karólína Lea Vilhjálmsdóttir.

Pauw made four changes to the side beaten 3-2 in Friday’s first meeting between the sides, handing Éabha O’Mahony her first international start.

The Cork City player’s deployment at left wing-back allowed Pauw to push captain Katie McCabe further infield, with Amber Barrett leading the attack.

The FC Koln striker looked poised to avail of a pinpoint McCabe pass on 14 minutes but for Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir nipping in with a last-ditch tackle.

She also scuffed a close-range effort on the half hour, just before Claire O’Riordan was unable to generate sufficient power in her header from a corner to trouble Iceland’s goalkeeper Cecilía Rán Rúnarsdóttir.

The teenage stopper was required to dive full-stretch to deny Megan Connolly’s 35-yard half-volley.

Despite Ireland creating those chances in the opening half, the hosts carried a threat as Porvaldsdóttir showed by darting clear of Louise Quinn but firing straight at Courtney Brosnan.

The striker, however, didn’t waste her next opportunity which arrived nine minutes after the restart.

Ireland were caught napping from a throw-in on the right, allowing Andrea Rán Hauksdóttir the space to pick out the unmarked striker who poked the cross first-time past the advancing Brosnan.

Porvaldsdóttir gave Ireland a let-off on 78 minutes by squandering another sitter inside the box but three minutes later Vilhjálmsdóttir was more clinical with a shot from the edge of the box through the legs of Quinn and into Brosnan’s far corner.

Ireland kick off their World Cup campaign away to minnows Georgia on September 17 before facing the top two seeded sides Sweden and Finland in October. A top-two finish is required to have a chance of ending their major tournament drought and reaching the 2023 showpiece in New Zealand and Australia.

ICELAND: CR Rúnarsdóttir; HR Halldórsdóttir; G Perla Viggósdóttir, I Sigurðardóttir (G Arnardottir 46), HG Gísladóttir; A Jóhannsdóttir (AR Hauksdóttir 46), G Yrsa Jónsdóttir (EM Jensen 80), D Brynjarsdóttir (BR Ágústsdóttir 72); SJ Jónsdóttir (AM Albertsdóttir 72), BB Porvaldsdóttir (K Tómsdóttir 80), K L Vilhjálmsdóttir.

REP OF IRELAND: C Brosnan; J Finn, C O’Riordan, D Caldwell, L Quinn, É O’Mahony (R McLaughlin 80); H Payne, M Connolly, D O’Sullivan, K McCabe; A Barrett (J Ziu 62).

Referee: Kirsty Dowle (ENG).

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