Republic of Ireland 4 - 0 Northern Ireland | 2019 - FIFA Women's World Cup | 999943747

FIFA Women's World Cup FIFA 2019 WWC Qualifying | Tallaght Stadium, Dublin
31 Aug 2018 17:30

Republic of Ireland 4 - 0 Northern Ireland

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Ireland WNT: Kiernan stars in emphatic Northern Ireland win

Republic of Ireland WNT ended their FIFA 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign with an emphatic victory over Northern Ireland.
31st Aug 2018

Cavan-native Leanne Kiernan was named the Three Player of the Match following her fantastic brace and skipper Katie McCabe added a further two to make it a comfortable 4-0 victory. 

It only took Colin Bell's side three minutes to get on the scoresheet as Diane Caldwell's lofted 40-yard ball found the explosive Kiernan who chipped the ball neatly over keeper Jacqueline Burns. 

Northern Ireland struggled to settle with the pace of Kiernan and the strength of Rianna Jarrett up front, and with 11 minutes gone, Ireland doubled their lead. Kiernan stretched the Northern Ireland defence down the right before Tyler Toland's long-range was parried and after Jarrett's neat lay-off, Katie McCabe powered the ball home. 

The Tallaght Stadium crowd were treated to a third goal in the first 30 minutes when Kiernan notched her second of the game. Jarrett was once again involved as she found Denise O'Sullivan who found the perfect pass to Kiernan and the West Ham Ladies striker finished with aplomb. 

President Michael D Higgins was in attendance for the second time during the campaign and Ireland sealed their fourth win in the group in the second-half. Harriet Scott latched onto an O'Sullivan through-ball before keeper Burns conceded a 56th-minute penalty. Captain McCabe stepped up to score her second of the game, the spot-kick neatly placed to the keeper's right. 

Ireland continued to dominate the occasion and Kiernan almost bagged her first senior international hat-trick four minutes from the end, but could only find the up-right from eight yards out. 

Colin Bell handed a senior international debut to Shelbourne Ladies striker Jessica Ziu in the second-half. The 16-year old replaced Wexford Youths striker Jarrett as preparations begin for next year's UEFA 2021 European Championships qualifying campaign. 

"It was a fantastic performance. To get goals like that in the opening stages of the game really settled us and I was extremely happy with the quality of the finishing tonight," WNT Head Coach Colin Bell said.

"Leanne Kiernan is beginning to really show what she can do. Her pace will always get her in threatening positions but it's always been about her using those positions well. Her progression in the past year has been fantastic, all the hard work put in at Shelbourne Ladies and now, West Ham, it is paying off.

"We'll sit down tomorrow as a group and go over the game, and go through the lessons we've learnt throughout the campaign. There will be certain moments which stick out in the last year or so, and which we can improve. We're heading in the right direction though and the players have to keep that up."

The WNT face a trip to Poland on Tuesday, October 9 in an international friendly match with further plans for the rest of the year and early 2019 to be confirmed. Ireland finished third in Group Five with just European Champions the Netherlands and top seeds Norway set to finish ahead of them.

Republic of Ireland: Amanda Budden (GK), Heather Payne, Harriet Scott, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey, Diane Caldwell, Leanne Kiernan (Amber Barrett 87), Denise O'Sullivan, Katie McCabe (C), Tyler Toland (Karen Duggan 60), Rianna Jarrett (Jessica Ziu 75). 

Jarrett ready for start after injury nightmare

Republic of Ireland WNT striker Rianna Jarrett could be set for another stop on her long road to recovery in the FIFA 2019 World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland.
30th Aug 2018

The WNT face Northern Ireland at Tallaght Stadium tomorrow, with kick-off at 5.30pm, in their final fixture of the qualifying campaign. Colin Bell's are set to finish third in the group, with top seeds Norway and European Champions, the Netherlands ahead of them.

Jarrett came on for her second cap in the 1-0 defeat to Norway in June having recovered from three ACL injuries during her career. The appearance in Stavanger was her first since February 2016 for the WNT after she suffered the injury against Italy at the Cyprus Cup.

With 25 goals in the Women's National League for Wexford Youths this season, the 24-year old is pushing for her first-ever start in the WNT but she isn't focused on that, just to end the campaign on a high.

"Well, I don't know if I'm starting but to just to be here is fantastic for me. Coming back from the injuries which extremely difficult but to be in a position where I'm pushing for the starting XI, makes it all worth it," the striker commented.

"We know what we need to get done, we're looking to get a vital win. You can't look past your next game and tomorrow will be our biggest game, it's the final game of the campaign so we need to see it out properly. 

"The campaign has been successful but with areas we can and need to improve. The improvement across the team over the last year has been huge and had a fantastic impact on the women's game in Ireland.

"We're competing with the top teams which probably hasn't happened before. The draw against the Netherlands shows that and I thought we were really unlucky in the two games against Norway. 

"We could pick out areas from those games against the top teams where we could have taken a point or two, and potentially still be in it. We've got to bring that into the next year when qualifying will begin for the European Championships."

Colin Bell's side started their FIFA 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign in Lurgan with a 2-0 victory over Northern Ireland in September. A win tomorrow will see the WNT end the campaign with 13 points as preparations for next year's European Championships qualifying begin.

With no injury concerns ahead of the game, Jarrett believes the squad are a great position to finish off the campaign on a high but has warned of the Northern Ireland threat. 

"They've got a number of different players in their squad since the last result, a lot like us really. We've got a number of players in the squad who've really come through in the last year so tomorrow's game will be completely different," she added.

"We know what we need to implement, we've been able to analyse the games so we know what to expect. They'll be coming down here looking for a result, no doubt. It's a big game and they'll want to everything for the win.

"We've worked hard on getting the result we need, we've got a lot of players who are looking really sharp and we've just got to go out there and do our jobs really. 

"We've had some fantastic crowds during the campaign, they've continued to grow and for me, to see the younger generations here enjoying watching football, that's massive. It's a great sign for the development of the game."