U19 Women International Report: Republic of Ireland U19 Women 2 - 0 Poland U19 WomenSun, Apr 10 2016
Second-half goals from Hayley Nolan and Dearbhaile Beirne ensured Ireland finished their UEFA Under 19 Elite qualification campaign with two victories from three games at Tallaght Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Ireland went into the game with Poland, knowing nothing less than a win would see their slim chances of qualification evaporating and manager Dave Connell made three changes to the side that beat Azerbaijan 3-0 on Thursday evening. Amanda McQuillan, Rachel Kearns and Jess Nolan replaced Brooke Dunne, Jess Gargan and Jamie Finn respectively.
It was the home side who started brightest and Roma McLaughlin had the game’s first effort after four minutes when she raced onto a lovely ball from Jess Nolan. The ‘keeper made an excellent save the Donegal native who had was adjudged to have been offside.
Despite continuing to dominate possession and territory in the opening half, Ireland failed to trouble Kinga Szemik in the visiting goal during the opening 40 minutes with Beirne, McLaughlin and Niamh Nelson all firing wide.
The visitors’ best chance of the half arrived with seven minutes remaining when skipper Ewa Ciesla struck a long range free-kick. However, her effort sailed harmlessly over McQuillan’s crossbar.
Moments later, Jess Nolan had the hosts first effort on target when Szemik failed to clear a cross from Niamh Prior before the midfielder hooked a shot towards goal, but her effort was easily gathered by the shot-stopper.
Four minutes after the interval, Ireland grabbed the game’s first goal when Hayley Nolan dispatched her second penalty in two games. Some excellent work by Beirne who looped the ball over the defender's head before finding Kearns, who was brought down in the penalty area.
After taking the lead, Dave Connell’s side then began to settle into their stride and Jess Nolan showed her ability from dead ball when producing two excellent corners in quick succession. The first was headed towards goal by goal scorer Hayley Nolan but her effort was easily saved by the goalkeeper.
Moments later, from the second delivery, Ireland almost extended their lead when Niamh Nelson’s headed effort was not properly cleared. Following up Keeva Keenan forced a good close range stop by the ‘keeper.
With an hour played, Ireland were lucky not to concede a penalty when skipper Savannah McCarthy made a rash challenge inside the box but the Greek referee Eleni Antoniou said play on.
Despite being on the back foot for large periods of the game, Poland had a brilliant chance with 20 minutes remaining. A lovely cross from Katarzyna Michalska caused trouble, but no Polish player gambled on the delivery.
As Jess Nolan’s deliveries continued to cause havoc in the visitors box they failed to clear a cross from the right wing before the ball fell to Hayley Nolan on the edge of the box and her effort was easily gathered Szemik.
Moments later, Ireland were almost gifted a second goal, both McCarthy and Kearns failed reach a Beirne corner before Keenan’s delivery was almost turned into her own net by Marta Ossowska but it went the otherside of the woodwork.
With second-half injury time fast approaching, Ireland grabbed their second goal of the game when Lucy McCartan found Beirne with a lovely pass before the Shels player coolly slotted past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Despite the victory, Ireland missed out on qualification as best runner up and you can catch the best of the reaction from Savannah McCarthy and Dave Connell on this week’s Extratime.ie Sportscast.
Ireland Under 19 Women: Amanda McQuillan; Keeva Keenan, Niamh Nelson, Savannah McCarthy, Niamh Prior; Rachel Kearns (Megan Lynch 88), Lucy McCartan, Roma McLaughlin (Jamie Finn 70), Jessica Nolan; Dearbhaile Beirne, Hayley Nolan.
Subs Not Used: Brooke Dunne, Chloe Moloney, Evelyn Daly, Sophie Watters, Jessica Gargan.
Booked: Rachel Kearns (30), Niamh Nelson (56), Savannah McCarthy (60), Jamie Finn (75).
Poland Under 19 Women: Kinga Szemik; Julia Wycisk, Karolina Wierzbicka (Kamila Szafraska 65), Klaudia Lefeld (Michalina Kowalska 70 (Karolina Ostrowska 90), Katarzyna Michalska; Ewa Ciela, Marta Ossowska, Patrycja Matla; Agnieszka Jdrzejewicz, Patrycja Falborska, Magorzata Mesjasz.
Subs Not Used: Magda Koacz, Patrycja Jerzak, Aleksandra Niecig, Monika Kedzierska
Booked: Agnieszka Jdrzejewicz (21), Katarzyna Michalska (22), Klaudia Lefeld (33), Julia Wycisk (48).
Referee: Eleni Antoniou (GRE)
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Jessica Nolan (Republic of Ireland)