Republic of Ireland 0 Sweden 1: How the Irish team rated

Malachy Clerkin runs the rule over Vera Pauw’s side after a spirited performance

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan blocks an attempt from Sweden’s Stina Blackstenius during the World Cup qualifier at Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan blocks an attempt from Sweden’s Stina Blackstenius during the World Cup qualifier at Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Courtney Brosnan (Everton)

Justified Vera Pauw’s faith in her. Took two smart saves in the opening 10 minutes and pulled off a spectacular one just short of the break. Couldn’t do anything about the goal and refused to be beaten in the second half. Rating: 8

Niamh Fahey (Liverpool)

Made a critical mistake in the lead up to the goal, half-going for a tackle in the Swedish half and getting caught up the pitch. She had to either win the ball or foul the player and did neither, leaving Ireland fatally stretched at the back. Rating: 5

Louise Quinn (Birmingham City)

Organised her defence so well through the first 40 minutes, making it such a shame that the own goal cannoned in off her. Double-marked by the Swedes on Irish set pieces and should have had a penalty on one of them. Rating: 7

Savannah McCarthy (Galway WFC)

Untimely slip left Louise Quinn unsighted as the shot came in for what became the own goal. But otherwise read the game intelligently and made some clever interceptions. Rating: 6

Áine O’Gorman (Peamount United)

Always doughty and positionally sound at full back, minding her patch throughout. Ireland could have done with her being a bit more adventurous on the ball. Rating: 5

Katie McCabe (Arsenal)

So confident on the ball. Just a pity she generally tended to have to settle for being on it in her own half rather than further up the pitch. Untypically careless from dead balls and didn’t get much of a sight of goal. Rating: 7

Jamie Finn (Birmingham City)

Shaky in possession in the first half, often a bit too eager to get rid when Ireland needed someone to slow things down. Much more forceful and brave after the break. Rating: 5

Megan Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion)

Had the hardest job of the Irish players, trying to stem the Swedish flow through midfield as well as getting on the ball. Gave away a lot of possession but never stopped working, typified by a brilliant block in injury-time. Rating: 5

Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage)

Ireland needed about eight of her on the pitch but had to settle for her doing her usual work of three. Always seemed to be intercepting and starting attacks that got gummed up in the works before she had time to sprint up and join them. Late arm injury a huge worry. Rating: 7

Heather Payne (Florida State Seminoles)

Ran till she had nubbins for knees. Got in behind a couple of times and clearly had the pace for Ilestedt but goalkeeper Lindahl was always out quickly to deny her. Thankless task. Rating: 6

Lucy Quinn (Birmingham City)

Had to spend far more time than she liked in her own defence. Kept trying to do more with the ball than just lash it away but tiredness made that increasingly implausible. One half-chance fell to her early in the second half but she didn’t hit the target.

Rating: 6

Substitutes

Leanne Kiernan made a fair stab at an impression of Payne when she came on, fighting a lone but lively battle up front. Amber Barrett didn’t quite get to the pace of things and kept getting caught needlessly offside. Saoirse Noonan wasn’t on long enough on her debut. Rating: 6

Manager: Vera Pauw

The improvement in this Ireland team is obvious over the past year. Stuck with Courtney Brosnan in goal despite plenty of doubts and was rewarded. Ultimately will be judged on the Finland games rather than the Swedish ones but this was promising. Rating: 7

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