Italy 0 Ireland 0: Women’s friendly as it happened

Stalemate in Florence but encouraging performance by Eileen Gleeson’s team


Italy 0 Ireland 0


90 mins: One last attack by Ireland is halted as Barrett gets quite a bang. Five minutes added time. Italy win a corner with three minutes left. Driven low corner and Bonansea gets the shot away but it’s wide.

Ireland stay solid as Italy chase the winner and the referee blows the winner.

FULL-TIME: Italy 0 Ireland 0

Good performance by Ireland there, a draw was a fair result. Italy had the better chances overall but Ireland could have won the game, with what would have been a stunning team goal:

Gavin Cummiskey’s match report to follow...


88 mins: Ireland on the counter after Kiernan releases Larkin but a poor pass is intercepted.


82 mins: Best chance of the game missed by Italy. Great through ball into Cadena and did the hard work to feint the defender. In box under not much pressure, she blazes it over the bar.


79 mins: Great defending by Fahey under pressure as Italy got down the byline. Another attack batted away.


73 mins: Oh no, Ireland goal ruled out for offside after a scintillating move! Lovely interplay including a nutmeg on the wing sets Barrett free who hits a good cross into Kiernan to score. Looked tight that one but wrong side of the decision for Ireland. Great shame. Ireland have been bright since the subs.


72 mins: Leanne Kiernan with some good forward play on the counter attack as she gets past her marker and approaches the box but finally dealt with by the Italy defence. Throw in doesn’t lead to anything though.

Then a chance for Quinn. Lily Agg wins a header in midfield and Quinn has an acre of space about 30 yards out. She goes for a shot and pulls it wide of the goal. She could have done better there.


70 mins: Nice move by Ireland, interplay with Ziu, Barrett and Quinn but the final pass just goes too far and Ziu can’t keep it in play. Lily Agg and Abbie Larkin on as subs.


66 mins: Offside trap works well for Ireland as Girelli gets through but she’s offside, saved by Brosnan anyway. Girelli then gets taken off.


63 mins: On comes Leanne Kiernan for Izzy Atkinson. Amber Barrett on too for Carusa. Going for it with those subs.


60 mins: Bit of a stalemate so far, Ireland containing Italy’s possession well so far, Carusa not getting much joy on the accomplished Salvai at the other end.


52 mins: After the guard of honour, Dragoni got some space outside the Irish box and her shot was just over the bar, decent chance.


48 mins: Lucy Quinn on for the second half for Ireland. Good possession for Ireland and McCabe spreads to the other wing and Payne wins a free after a dribble.

Sara Gama comes off in her last appearance, a guard of honour for the centre-back. Captain’s armband passed to Girelli. She made her first appearance in 2006, and got 134 caps. She won six Serie A titles.


45 mins: Nearly a goal for Italy. Glionna found Piemonte in the box and the shot almost found the net on the far post, just shaved the post. Let off there.

HALF-TIME: Italy 0 Ireland 0

Good performance by Ireland in the first half, especially in the opening 20 minutes. Then Italy started to show their ability and started to dominate midfield, creating a few chances but not much clearcut until the end of the half. All to play for in the second half.


42 mins: Atkinson shows her pace and breaks through the lines but overhits her pass.


39 mins: Heavy tackle by McCabe near the middle of the pitch, looked a yellow but gets away with it maybe because it’s a friendly. Brosnan collects well from a cross, confident keeping.


36 mins: Soft free kick against Payne on Oliveira just outside the box. Dangerous area. The free kick from Girelli is straight at Brosnan.


35 mins: Shot for Glionna for Italy as she got space on the right wing but her shot from outside the box is well wide. Atkinson is having a good first half and a nice bit of play by Ireland before Payne’s cross is into the keeper’s arms.


32 mins: Small lull in the game. Katie McCabe playing disciplined left-back tonight, maybe with an eye on stopping the Italian threat, and hasn’t been unleashed yet.


26 mins: Italy starting to put the pressure on now as Littlejohn gets treated for injury.


21 mins: Some nice dribbling by Dragoni as Italy finally have a decent chance. Piemonte with the header from the cross as it went over the Ireland defence but it goes wide of the mark. Italy starting to play better in midfield and Oliviera the full-back gets through on the wing but her low cross is comfortably collected by Brosnan.


18 mins: Penalty shout for Ireland, Gama on Carusa but waved away, Carusa slipped and it was the right decision by the referee.


15 mins: Ireland continue to put Italy under pressure as they win a free kick just outside the box near the byline as Oliveira fouls Carusa who showed strong hold-up play. It’s a short free kick but wasted as McCabe hits the first woman in the box.


12 mins: Some nice touches by McCabe, it’s been a fine start by Ireland as the rain comes down heavily. Italy look a bit nervy so far as Ireland press them very well. Far more front foot play under Gleeson than Pauw.


8 mins: Great chance for Ireland! Fantastic through ball by Payne after she ran through midfield. Carusa through on goal but the ball just goes a little past her and she can’t get the ball past the keeper, who makes a solid save. McCabe’s corner was good, Hayes almost got to it but the keeper scrambled it away.


3 mins: Game has kicked off at Viola Park. Ireland with some possession and got down the byline but was well blocked by the defender.


The short build-up to the game has been delayed by Catherine Martin getting grilled about RTÉ board stuff. You can also follow that live blog on the Irish Times website here.

Moving to the RTÉ Player.


So a few relatively new faces in the Ireland team, it’s just Jessie Stapleton’s third cap, the 19-year-old plays for Reading. A seventh cap for Celtic’s Caitlin Hayes, a 12th for Jessica Ziu. On the other end, it’s Niamh Fahey’s 112th cap.

In the Italy team, watch out for Cristiana Girelli from Juventus, who is pretty useful in the air and around the box. She has 53 goals in 102 games for Italy. Other standout players include experienced defenders Sara Gama, who will play her final game tonight, and Cecilia Salvai.


Ireland’s team has been announced: Brosnan; Payne, Hayes, Fahey, Atkinson; Stapleton, Connolly, Littlejohn; Ziu, Carusa, McCabe.

Italy’s team is as follows: Schroffenegger; Gama, Salvai, Linari, Oliveiro; Galli, Dragoni, Greggi, Glionna, Piemonte, Girelli.


Mary Hannigan’s preview of today’s game. Ireland were hit by the blow that Jamie Finn had suffered a cruciate ligament injury and is set for a long spell on the sidelines. Gleeson is also hampered by the absence of three of her midfielders, Denise O’Sullivan and Tyler Toland, who are both recovering from minor knee injuries, and Sinead Farrelly, who has had a limited preseason with NJ/NY Gotham after suffering concussion in her last outing for Ireland at the beginning of December. Ireland’s talisman Katie McCabe should be fit and ready to play.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of the international friendly between Ireland and Italy at Viola Park in Florence. Kick off is at 5.15pm. It is Eileen Gleeson’s first game as permanent manager after a successful spell as interim as they topped their group in the Nations League.

The Euro 2025 qualifiers kick off in April, so this test against Italy and the coming game on Tuesday against Wales are good tune ups. Italy should provide a stern test, as they are 10 places above Ireland in the world rankings.

Ireland squad is as follows, line-up to come:

Goalkeepers: Courtney Brosnan (Everton), Grace Moloney (London City Lionesses), Sophie Whitehouse (Lewes)

Defenders: Jessie Stapleton (Reading – on loan from West Ham United), Diane Caldwell (FC Zurich), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Caitlin Hayes (Celtic), Louise Quinn (Birmingham City), Aoife Mannion (Manchester United), Megan Campbell (London City Lionesses)

Midfielders: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Lily Agg (Birmingham City), Megan Connolly (Bristol City), Ruesha Littlejohn (London City Lionesses), Jamie Finn (Birmingham City), Heather Payne (Everton), Jess Ziu (West Ham United), Lucy Quinn (Birmingham City), Izzy Atkinson (Crystal Palace), Erin McLaughlin (Peamount United), Jess Fitzgerald (Peamount United)

Forwards: Kyra Carusa (San Diego Wave), Abbie Larkin (Crystal Palace), Amber Barrett (Standard Liege), Leanne Kiernan (Liverpool), Emily Murphy (Wake Forest University).