Ireland women secure crucial win over Portugal

The girls in green come back from an early setback to win in Moreira de Conegos

The Republic of Ireland women’s team beat Portugal to put Euro 2017 hopes back on track. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The Republic of Ireland women’s team beat Portugal to put Euro 2017 hopes back on track. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Portugal 1 Republic of Ireland 2

The Republic of Ireland women’s team produced a gritty performance to take full points from their trip to Portugal and get their Euro 2017 campaign up and running on Tuesday evening.

First half goals from Louise Quinn and Aine O’Gorman helped the Irish side come from behind at the Comendador Joaquim Almeida Fre Stadium in Moreira de Conegos 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. Both went into midfield with Niamh Fahey going into the centre of defence and Sophie Perry switching from left back to right back to facilitate the move of Megan Campbell from the central defensive position she occupied against the Finns.

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 of the game and Karen Duggan twice went close with headers as Megan Campbell’s trademark long throw caused panic in the heart of the home defence.

The Irish were rocked on 16 minutes when Portugal scored from their first corner. The kick was played short to the supporting Sílvia Rebelo and her cross was headed beyond the reach of Emma Byrne and just inside the far post by Carole Costa.

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

Ireland lost Karen Duggan after 33 minutes when the UCD Waves midfielder shipped a heavy knock and she was replaced by Diane Caldwell. Two minutes later Ireland carved out a great chance when Megan Campbell released Aine O’Gorman but Katie McCabe wasn’t able to connect with the pull-back.

However, in the 39th minute, it was Ruesha Littlejohn’s turn to carve open the home defence when she sent Katie McCabe clear. Her goalbound shot was brilliantly parried by Patricia Morais and Aine O’Gorman reacted quickest to the rebound to head home her eighth international goal and first in two years.

Ireland then lost a second member of the starting line-up when Megan Campbell took a blow to the head as she cleared a cross and after a lengthy delay she 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 break didn’t seem to affect Ireland and just before the half-time whistle Julie Ann Russell had an excellent chance to virtually wrap things up but she shot wide with the goals at her mercy.

The second half saw Portugal enjoy the bulk of the possession but they found it extremely difficult to break down a resolute Irish defence. There were a few heart-stopping moments like when Emma Byrne failed to hold an Ines Silva shot but Louise Quinn was on hand to clear. The Irish skipper also denied Ines Silva late on when she tipped her sizzling free-kick over the bar.

While Ireland didn’t create as many chances in the second half as they in the opening period they almost grabbed a third goal in the 52nd minute when Diane Caldwell left fly from 25 yards and Morais produced the save of the game with a spectacular leap to tip the ball over as it headed for the top corner.

A third goal would have made life a lot more comfortable for Ireland but they dug deep to keep Portugal at bay and take the three points their disciplined performance deserved. With Spain beating Finland 2-1in Helsinki the scene is now nicely 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).

Portugal: Morais; Fidalgo (Fernandes 82), Rebelo, Costa, I Silva; Malho (Pinto 71), D Silva; Borges, Neto, J Silva; C Mendes (Luis 71).

Referee: Gyöngyi Gaál (Hungary)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.