Montenegro 0 - 5 Republic of Ireland
VIDEO: IRLWNT secure emphatic qualifying win
The lead came as early as the third minute when a short corner routine culminated with Julie-Ann Russell’s cross to the back post being headed home by Louise Quinn.
Ireland pressed hard for a second but it was Montenegro who had the next guilt edged opportunity as Armisa Kuc found space in the penalty area, only to be thwarted by the onrushing Emma Byrne.
Ireland continued to hold the lion's share of possesion and doubled their lead in the 24th minute as Julie-Ann Russell once again whipped a dangerous cross into the area, this time finding Katie McCabe. McCabe touched it down for Aine O’Gorman to finish into the bottom left corner of the net.
Just sixty second later Ireland were 3-0 ahead. O’Gorman raced into the box only to be taken down by Montenegro captain Sladjana Bulatovic. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot where Ruesha Littlejohn scored her second penalty in succesive games, finishing low to the ‘keepers right.
Ten minutes into the second half, Meabh De Burca found space in the channel and hit an inviting ball into the Montenegro area that Fiona O’Sullivan was inches away from connecting with.
Ireland went close once more as Sophie Perry got on the end of a through ball but was denied by a fantastic save from Jovana Bajetic in the Montenegro goal. Two second half substitutes teamed up for the next chance as Stephanie Roche fired just over after a good one-two with Denise O’Sullivan.
The fourth goal finally came and it was worth the wait. Denise O’Sullivan jinked in the box, wrong footing the defender, before lashing a fierce right footed strike into the far corner. A simply stunning strike.
Ireland weren’t finished there as in the 85th minute, Julie-Ann Russell, who was a threat throughout, got to the endline before finding Stephanie Roche who headed home from six yards.
A record-equaliing win for Ireland who head to Madrid next Tuesday for a clash with table toppers Spain with a spring in their step.
Following the game Head Coach Sue Ronan reflected on the victory before setting her sights on the Spanish challenge to come on Tuesday.
Republic of Ireland WNT: Emma Byrne (c), Sophie Perry, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey, Karen Duggan, Diane Caldwell, Aine O’Gorman, Ruesha Littlejohn, Julie-Ann Russell, Katie McCabe, Meabh De Burca.
Subs: Stephanie Roche for Katie McCabe HT. Fiona O’Sullivan for Aine O’Gorman 62mins. Denise O’Sullivan for Diane Caldwell 72 mins.
Montenegro WNT: Jovana Bajetic, Zeljka Radanovic, Andreja Vidic, Tatjana Djurkovic, Sladjana Bulatovic (c), Milica Vulic, Tamara Bojat, Jasna Djokovic, Armisa Kuc, Aleksandra Popovic, Jovana Mrkic.
Subs: Jovana Zlaticanin for Aleksandra Popovic HT. Tamara Bojat for Dijana Miljanic 70 mins. Helena Bozic for Andreja Vidic.
Sue Ronan: The aim is to get maximum points
The meeting with Montenegro is followed on Tuesday by a trip to Madrid to face group leaders Spain, who defeated the Girls in Green 0-3 earlier in the campaign.
Preparations for the game have been ideal with the squad travelling to Vienna for a three day training camp before flying to Montengro this morning. Head Coach Sue Ronan has been impressed with how the build-up to the game has gone so far, “The camp has been very very good. We arrived on Sunday night, didn’t have a full compliment of players (until Monday) because of club duty, but it’s gone very well. The players are looking sharp and eager to go.“
Following a 0-2 defeat in their last qualifier to Finland, Ireland travellled to the Cyprus Cup last month where hugely encouraging performances culminated in a reversal of that scoreline against group rivals Finland. On the back of the renewed confidence in the squad, maximum points is the aim this week according to Ronan, “We spoke at the beginning of this week about the aim of this week, and the aim is to get six points. We go into each match hoping to win. Montenegro are first up on Thursday and that’s been taking our focus up until now and will be until that game is over. We want to build on the performances in the Cyprus Cup, we really played very well. There were some excellent passages of play, both in attack and in defence. All the results didn’t go our way, but that’s football. I think if we can sharpen up on one or two elements of our game I’m hopeful that we will do really well over the coming week.”
Despite Montenegro’s postion in the group they have proven themselves to be an impressive outfit, one that this Ireland team will not be taking for granted going into the game. “There are no weak teams in international football anymore at women’s level. Every team deserves respect and every team on it’s given day can trouble another team,” Ronan stated. ”I look at my squad and the strength in it, the experience in it and indeed the desire in it. They are fully focused on going out in the game on Thursday and getting the three points. It’s not going to be easy but if we play as well as we can we should certainly win the game.”
Kick-off for tomorrow’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 Qualifier between Montenegro WNT and the Republic of Ireland WNT in Petrovac is 13:00 Irish Time.
Live updates of the game will be provided on the Official FAIreland Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts throughout.
Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team Squad to face Montenegro:
Goalkeepers: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Niamh Reid-Burke (Shelbourne), Grace Moloney (Reading)
Defenders: Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United), Jessica Gleeson (Wexford Youths), Niamh Fahey (Chelsea), Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion), Meabh De Burca (Galway) Aine O’Gorman (UCD Waves).
Midfielders: Karen Duggan (UCD Waves), Denise O’Sullivan (Houston Dash), Diane Caldwell (Kóln), Ruesha Littlejohn (Glasgow City), Julie-Ann Russell (UCD Waves), Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Emma Hansberry (Wexford Youths), Jetta Berrill (UCD Waves)
Forwards: Stephanie Roche (Sunderland), Fiona O’Sullivan (California Storm), Clare Shine (Glasgow City)
- 1 Ivana Čadjenović (G)
- 4 Helena Božić
- 5 Jovana Zlatičanin
- 14 Jelena Vešović
- 16 Miljana Rondović
- 18 Ana Trutić
- 20 Dijana Miljanić
Republic of Ireland
- 23 Grace Moloney (G)
- 10 Denise O'Sullivan
- 12 Fiona O'Sullivan
- 13 Stephanie Roche
- 18 Emma Hansberry
- 19 Clare Shine
- 20 Jetta Berrill
- Referee Dimitrina Milkova
- Assistant Referees Ekaterina Marinova
- UEFA Delegate Knarik Abelyan
- Assistant Referee Two Mirela Ivanova
- Fourth Official Sanja Rudović
- Referee Observer Gaetano De Gabriele
- Republic of Ireland
Shots on Target
Shots off Target
Republic of Ireland
3Shots on Goal14
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