The dream of qualifying for the 2022 UEFA Women’s European Championship ended for the Republic of Ireland in Tallaght Stadium as they lost 3-1 to Germany.
Early goals from Lina Magull and Tabea Wabmuth set the Group I winners on their way to completing a perfect campaign of eight wins, but Katie McCabe ensured that there would be at least one goal conceded.
Wabuth got a second late on as Vera Pauw’s team pushed to level matters and ultimately their fightback fell short. Although this was the first game in the campaign that Germany were truly tested.
Following a bright opening, Ireland were dealt a cruel blow when referee Sara Persson pointed to the penalty spot after Svenja Huth went down inside the area when coming up against McCabe.
Magull fired in to give Germany the lead and they extended it just eight minutes later when Wabuth took aim from distance and the ball flew into the back of the net.
Typical of this Ireland team, they did not drop their heads and give up. Instead they fought back and a quick breakaway saw Heather Payne get in behind the German defence and square to Denise O’Sullivan who was fouled.
A second penalty kick of the game was awarded, this time in favour of Ireland. McCabe, who missed from the spot kick in their most recent game away to Ukraine, made no mistake as she blasted in.
As they returned for the second half, Germany introduced Dzsenifer Marozsan in an effort to seize control in midfield. But it was never going to be easy to break through the Irish lines such was their battling display.
Going forward Ireland tried to create chances and McCabe had the best of them when she shot wide following some slick link-up play. O’Sullivan also rattled the crossbar as Ireland switched formation to go for it.
Germany held on to claim the win, but Pauw’s team can be extremely proud of their performance in this game and in the campaign as a whole. The future looks bright for this squad of players.
Republic of Ireland: Moloney; O’Gorman, Quinn, Caldwell, Fahey, McCabe; Littlejohn, Finn (Molloy 65), O’Sullivan; Payne, Jarrett (Barrett 55).
Germany: Berger; Hendrich (Wolter 61), Hegering, Oberdorf, Lohmann; Magull (Lattwein 75), Dallmann (Marozsan 46), Leupolz; Wabmuth, Huth, Buhl (Schuller 74).
Referee: Sara Persson (Sweden).