Victory takes ‘History Girls’ into last four

Republic of Ireland U19 players celebrating, from , left: Katie McCabe; Clare Shine; Lauren Dwyer; Chloe Mustaki and Ciara O'Connell.

UEFA Women’s U19 European Championship Group 8
Republic of Ireland 2 Sweden 1

There is just no stopping the Republic of Ireland Women’s U19’s after they beat Sweden last night to roll into the semi-finals of the Uefa European Championships.

Having picked up the nickname of the ‘History Girls’, Dave Connell’s team wrote another significant chapter by topping Group B and securing a place in the final four.

Victories over Spain and England set them up nicely going into this game, but they needed goals from Savannah McCarthy and Megan Connolly to overcome a tough Swedish team.

Considering they have now beaten the top three seeds in the tournament, it is hard to believe that Ireland went into this tournament as underdogs.

Well, nobody will take them for granted now.

Connell’s players will have to recover in time for Thursday’s semi-final and they will identify the lapse in concentration that allowed Stina Blackstenius to open the scoring on eight minutes.

A through ball caught Ireland off-guard and they were punished.

Typical of this side, they came roaring back.

Connolly picked out McCarthy, who peeled away from her marker before looping a header over keeper Zecira Musovic on 21 minutes.

It was another masterful set-piece from a team that works hard on every area, and it was Connolly’s third assist in three games.

Sweden fought back strongly but they couldn’t find a way past keeper Brooke Dunne, and they were killed off when Cork native Connolly converted a superb free-kick.

There was only 10 minutes to go at that point and Ireland held on to secure a deserved victory.

Connell, and his backroom staff, have done a superb job in getting the team this far but they won’t be prepared to settle just yet.

It’s now on to the final four for the History Girls.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Dunne; Keenan, O’Connell, McCarthy, Wright; Connolly, Mustaki, Dwyer; Rowe (Shine 58), O’Connor, McCabe (Carson 88).

SWEDEN: Musovic; Ekholm, Bjorn, E Karlsson, N Karlsson; Andersson (Angeldal 76), Hurtig, Wahlberg, Curmark (Okvist h-t); Blackstenius, Olme (Jansson 70).

Referee: Zuzana Kovacova (Slovakia).


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