Irish Defence Forces Women beat RAF in Dublin friendly
IRISH DEFENCE FORCES WOMEN 2 (Amy Phelan 15, Sinead Taylor 65) RAF WOMEN 0
Midfielder Amy Phelan had the home side in front after 15 minutes with a stunning strike from just inside the RAF half after she spotted goalkeeper Nicola Symons had moved off her goal line. Phelan quickly sized the opportunity to launch a high ball over the stranded Symons that dipped neatly just under the crossbar for a memorable opening score.
Sinead Taylor might have doubled the score after she got through the RAF defence but a last ditch tackle form Rachel Rutherford kept her out.
The visitors although a goal down were well in the games and spurred on by Rachel Griffiths and skipper Catherine Beaver, two powerhouses in the midfield, they threatened to get back on terms a couple of times before the break.
Ashlyn Mester went close after combining with Zara McIntosh and later McIntosh saw her dangerous cross from the back line cleared to safety by the impressive centre back Siobhan O’Sullivan with Keri Haywood ready to get a strike on goal.
Early second half pressure from the Irish looked like yielding another goal and Symons did well to keep out a rasping drive from Taylor after great work from Grainne Kenneally set up the chance.
Taylor was eventually rewarded with a well deserved goal on 65 minutes when she ran on to a superb through ball from Phelan, got past a lunging tackle from Rutherford and beat Symons with a clinical finish to seal the win.
The Irish went close to a third goal towards the finish after a fine run by Shelley Keogh ended with a the RAF ‘keeper doing well to hold the Irish girl's strike.
A satisfying win for Defence Forces manager Darren Cody and coachs Alan Corboy and Lorainne Walsh who did well to prepare this very enthusiastic and committed squad so professionally in the limited time available to them with assignments and foreign postings.
Over the years the Irish have found it difficult to fit in games and you have to go back to 2015 for their last representative fixtures when they drew 1-1 with the RAF in England and before that to 2014 for another game and a 1-1 in Holland with the Dutch Forces.While the previous year the Irish defeated the RAF Women 2-1 in Galway.
Irish Defence Forces Women: Linda McNamara; Karen Irwin, Kim Turner, Siobhan O’Sullivan, Rebecca Coogan; Shelley Keogh, Amy Phelan, Ciara Carroll, Katherine Mooney; Sinead Taylor, Grainne Kennelly.
Subs: Leah McEvoy (for Kennelly 65 mins), Cloe Carroll (for Keogh 78 mins), Margaret Hogan (for Taylor 80 mins), Aisling Byrne (for Turner 86 mins), Chloe Foy (for Irwin 88 mins), Stacey Keogh (for Phelan 88 mins), Nicole Kelly (for Carroll 89 mins).
RAF Women: Nicola Symons; Rachel Dean, Rachel Howes, Rachel Rutherford, Robyn Stewart; Zara McIntosh, Rachel Griffiths, Catherine Beaver, Ashlyn Mester; Jade Brown, Keri Haywood.
Subs: Katherine Ratcliffe (for Brown 55 mins), Lauren Welsh (for Haywood 60 mins), Amelia Quinn-Downing (for Dean 75 mins), Mollie Lambert (for Griffiths 85 mins).
Referee: Sgt Alan Sherlock. Assistants: Pte Declan Toland, Coms Derek Stafford.