Watch: Lauren Kelly's wonderstrike sees Ireland open University Games campaign with victory over holders BrazilWed, Jul 03 2019
A 30-yard wonderstrike from Wexford Youths’ Lauren Kelly saw Ireland to a famous 1-0 victory over reigning champions Brazil in their opening World University Games clash in Naples.
The Kildare native struck 14 minutes from time in a game Dave Connell’s side dominated with 70% possession and could easily have had wrapped up sooner.
WATCH | Playing the World Champions, 0-0, 14 minutes to go, win back possession and smash the ball in from 30 yards!@laurenkelly7399 take an absolute bow! #CantSeeCantBe #WUG19IRL@FAIreland @StudentSportIrl @Napoli2019_ita @20x20_ie pic.twitter.com/zRq96uU1fX— Third Level Football (@thirdlevelfootb) July 2, 2019
Megan Smyth-Lynch had earlier seen a similarly spectacular strike from distance ruled out when it appeared to bounce over the line after hitting the crossbar, but Ireland continued to push.
There were just 12 minutes on the clock when the Peamount United winger unleashed a powerful shot from 30 yards that sailed over the Brazilian keeper and rattled the bar.
The ball bounced down and looked to have crossed the line before bouncing back into play, however the officials decided they couldn’t conclusively rule it had gone in.
Smyth-Lynch turned creator moments later when she picked out her Peamount teammate Eleanor Ryan Doyle with a free kick, but this time the celebrations were halted by an offside flag.
Ireland continued to have all the play, with Amanda McQuillan only called into action once to save smartly from Mylena Pedrosa, but it looked like they’d have to settle for a point.
That was until Kelly nicked the ball free in midfield and drove forward before thumping a shot past the despairing Brazilian goalkeeper.
There will be little time for Ireland to reflect on the victory, however, as they face South Korea in their second and final group game on Thursday evening.