Ireland’s World Cup hopes ended last night as they went down to a 1-0 defeat, courtesy of Caroline Graham-Hansen who tucked home a winning penalty. After three losses on the hop, the Irish Women’s National Team can no longer qualify as they are five points off Norway with only one game left to play.
The side featured two changes from the team that took on Norway in Tallaght Stadium on Friday. Megan Connolly and Claire O’Riordan slotted in for the suspended Diane Caldwell and injured Niamh Fahey.
Norway picked up from where they left off and bossed the early exchanges. A team which is excellent at attacking down the channels, Caroline Graham-Hansen saw a lot of the ball down the right hand side. The Wolfsburg winger is coming off a successful season at club level despite losing to Lyon in the Champions League Final.
It was Graham-Hansen who engineered the breakthrough in front of the crowd of 3,609 fans. In the 24th minute, Claire O’Riordan brought down Graham-Hansen in the penalty area and Swiss referee Esther Staubli pointed to the penalty spot.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 12, 2018
Graham-Hansen picked herself up to cooly send the ball passed Hourihan despite the Irish goalkeeper diving the right way. Hourihan made some crucial saves soon after this to keep Ireland in the game.
Similar to the game in Tallaght Stadium, Ireland’s work rate and character shone through and brought them back into the game. With the highly talented Leanne Kiernan upfront, Ireland created good opportunities to equalize but were unfortunate to score. Kiernan had a shot saved by Norway keeper Hjelmseth before Megan Connolly saw her volley drag wide just before half-time.
Despite the World Cup dream being over, Ireland have shown promise and this experience will stand to this young side. With one more fixture to play, the Irish Women’s National Team will be looking to go out in style as they face Northern Ireland in August.
This match also marked the momentous occasion of Aine O’Gorman attaining 100 caps representing her country.
? Result aside, it is a rare and special achievement when a player receives ? caps for their country!#IRLWNT?? Head Coach Colin Bell presented @Aineogor9 with her special golden cap to commemorate her incredible achievement!
— FAIreland ⚽️?? (@FAIreland) June 12, 2018
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Marie Hourihan; Sophie Perry-Campbell, Claire O’Riordan, Louise Quinn, Aine O’Gorman (Isibeal Atkinson 88); Denise O’Sullivan, Karen Duggan, Tyler Toland, Megan Connolly (Amber Barrett 81), Katie McCabe (c); Leanne Kiernan (Rianna Jarrett 81).
NORWAY: Ingrid Hjelmseth; Ingrid Wold, Maren Mjelde (c), Maria Thorisdotti, Emilie Haavi; Caroline Graham Hansen, Frida Maanum (Boe Risa 64), Ingrid Syrstad Engen, Guro Reiten; Isabell Herlovsen (Skinnes Hansen 93), Lisa-Marie Utland (Elise Thorsnes 61).