Just a stroll for Ireland


THE Republic of Ireland maintained their 100 per cent record in the qualifying campaign for the fourth UEFA Women's Championship at Richmond Park yesterday with a somewhat pedestrian 5-1 defeat of Wales.

Having won 3-0 in Wales last October, Ireland wasted no time in stamping their authority on the return game and were a goal up after only six minutes. Olivia O'Toole, a veritable thorn down the right side of the Welsh defence, was taken down as she rounded the skipper, Yvonne Gagen, inside the box. O'Toole picked herself up confidently to slot home the penalty.

O'Toole, celebrating her 26th birthday, then all but ended the game as a contest on 28 minutes with a delightful second goal, skipping past two challenges before driving the ball beyond the Welsh goalkeeper, Sue Young.

Two quick goals from Sharon Boyle and Geraldine O'Shea in the three minutes before half time gave Ireland a far from flattering 4-0 lead. The captain Yvonne Lyons made it 5-0 after 57 minutes with Wales getting their consolation strike from Julia Merola in the 69th minute.