Ireland women hit back for first win

Portugal 1 Republic Of Ireland 2: The Republic of Ireland women’s team got their first win of the Euro 2017 qualifying campaign yesterday when they came from behind to beat Portugal in Moreira de Conegos.

First-half goals from Louise Quinn and Áine O’Gorman turned the tide after Portugal had opened the scoring against the run of play.

Ireland manager Sue Ronan made two changes to the side which lost to Finland last month with Ruesha Littlejohn and Karen Duggan coming in to replace Meabh De Burca and Diane Caldwell.

Portugal gave the noisy home crowd plenty to shout about in the opening minutes and Emma Byrne had to get down smartly to keep out a low drive by Portugese captain Claudio Neto.

But then the Irish took control and Karen Duggan twice went close with headers as Megan Campbell’s trademark long throw caused panic.

The Irish were rocked on 16 minutes when Portugal scored from their first corner, headed home by Carole Costa.

That goal got the home crowd going again but they were silenced six minutes later when Katie McCabe’s corner found Louise Quinn and she buried her header from six yards.

Ireland lost Karen Duggan after 33 minutes when the UCD Waves midfielder shipped a heavy knock and she was replaced by Diane Caldwell.

Six minutes later Ireland went in front. Littlejohn carved open the home defence when she sent Katie McCabe clear. Her goalbound shot was brilliantly parried by Patricia Morais and O’Gorman reacted quickest to the rebound to head home.

Ireland then lost Campbell who took a blow to the head as she cleared a cross and, after a lengthy delay, was stretchered off and taken to hospital.

Stephanie Roche replaced Campbell and went up front with O’Gorman switching to right-back and Sophie Perry moving to left back.

The second-half saw Portugal enjoy the bulk of the possession but they found it difficult to break down a resolute Irish defence. There were a few heart-stopping moments like when Byrne failed to hold an Ines Silva shot but Louise Quinn was on hand to clear.

With Spain beating Finland 2-1 in Helsinki the scene is now set for next month’s game against the Spanish in Tallaght Stadium.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND:

Emma Byrne (C); Sophie Perry, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey, Megan Campbell (Stephanie Roche 45+5); Ruesha Littlejohn, Karen Duggan (Diane Caldwell 33), Denise O’Sullivan: Julie Ann Russell, Aine O’Gorman, Katie McCabe (Meabh De Burca 84).

Referee:

Gyongyi Gaal (Hungary)


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