Spain 1 - 0 Republic of Ireland | 2015 - Senior Womens Friendlies | 999941633

Senior Women's Friendlies International Friendly | Mareo Stadium,, Asurias / Spain
Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spain 1 - 0 Republic of Ireland

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Ireland lose narrowly in Spain

Spain 1 Republic of Ireland 0
ROIWNT v Spain 08-04-15.jpg
8th Apr 2015

The Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team lost narrowly to World Cup Finalists Spain this evening in an international friendly at the Mareo Stadium, Asturias.

Spain opened the scoring in the 47th minute through Jenni Hormoso and Ireland thought they had equalised in the 83rd minute when Louise Quinn headed home from a corner but the referee disallowed the effort.

While Ireland will feel that they deserved at least a draw they will take a lot of confidence from the game, especially their second half performance when they showed great character after going a goal down and pressed the Spanish to the very end.

Manager Sue Ronan fielded a strong side from the start but was unable to include teenage winger Katie McCabe who hadn’t recovered in time from an injury sustained while playing for Raheny United in a Continental Tyres Women’s National League game on Sunday.

Ireland struggled in the opening 45 minutes to get to grips with the short-passing Spaniards and when they did win the ball back they struggled to retain possession. The Spanish were very dangerous on the break and twice in the first 12 minutes Sonia Bermudez went close, her second effort being cleared off the line by Sophie Perry.

Emma Byrne was the busier of the two goalkeepers but at the other end Louise Quinn and Denise O’Sullivan both headed wide while Megan Campbell’s free-kick produced an excellent stop from the Spanish keeper.

Having managed to keep the game scoreless to half-time, Ireland were dealt a body blow two minutes after the restart when Byrne parried a Spanish free-kick and Hormoso reacted quickest inside the box to fire the home side into the lead.

But, if the Spanish crowd expected the floodgates to open at this stage they were seriously mistaken as Ireland responded by taking a firm grip of the game with the introduction of Siobhan Killeen as a half-time substitute bringing pace and width to the attack.

Julie Ann Russell had a snap shot charged down after 65 minutes and then Ruesha Littlejohn almost took full advantage of some indecision in the Spanish defence but the home keeper Aihnoa Tirapu  made a last ditch block to keep out her shot.

Ireland finally got the ball in the Spanish net on 83 minutes when Quinn rose highest to power home a corner from Killeen but the referee disallowed the effort for a foul on a defender, a decision that was disputed by the visitors.  

It would have given Ireland a deserved equaliser but Ronan took enough positives from what will be her last time to have the full squad together prior to the start of the European Championship campaign in September.

“We were poor in the first half and it took us a long time to get into the game but we spoke about it at half time and we were much better in the second half. They even changed their formation to try and cope with us,” said Ronan. “It was a step-up in the quality of opponent we have faced so far this year but we did well against a team who will be among the top seeds in the Euro 2017 draw later this month. I thought Louise Quinn scored a good goal and we certainly would have deserved it based on our second half performance.”

Ireland: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Diane Caldwell (Avaldsnes), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United), Megan Campbell (Florida State University), Sophie Perry (Millwall); Aine O'Gorman (UCD Waves), Niamh Fahey (Chelsea), Denise O'Sullivan (Glasgow City); Ruesha Littlejohn (Celtic), Fiona O'Sullivan (Notts County), Julie Ann Russell (UCD Waves). Subs: Siobhan Killeen (Raheny United) for F O'Sullivan (46), Carol Breen (Wexford Youths Women's AFC) for Russell (65). Unused Subs: Niamh Reid-Burke (Raheny United), Meabh De Burca (Galway WFC), Emma Beckett (Amazon Grimstad), Ciara Grant (UCD Waves).

Spain brings back memories for McCabe

Tomorrow’s international friendly with Spain will bring back some happy memories for Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team winger Katie McCabe.
Katie McCabe 2.jpg
7th Apr 2015

Nine months ago she was part of the Ireland U19 side that beat Spain 1-0 in their opening game at the UEFA European Women’s U19 Championship in Norway. It was a result that kick-started a fabulous tournament for the Irish girls that finally finished in a semi-final defeat by the eventual winners Netherlands

McCabe, who won’t turn 20 until September, is now a member of the senior squad with three caps under her belt and is looking forward to tomorrow’s game against the Spanish in the Mareo Stadium, Asturias (17:00, Irish time).

“It is a great memory. Hopefully we can repeat that result tomorrow but it’s going to be even tougher. They were a really good team at U19 level and I know their senior team is going to be even better. No matter whether it’s the men or the women, Spain always have good teams. They will be very quick, decent on the ball and we are going to have work very hard. There were a few Spanish players in the Bristol Academy team that Raheny played against in the Champions League and they definitely had an impact on the match.”

Shortly after returning from Norway with the U19s, McCabe was training with the senior squad and, after going on the Winter Training Camp to La Manga, she was selected in the squad for the Istria Cup in Croatia where things went much better than she could have dreamed of.

“The Istria Cup was brilliant for me. I didn’t expect to get my first cap out there but I made my debut against Hungary and ended getting 90 minutes in two games and 70 minutes in another.  It was a great experience. It is definitely a higher level than I have experienced before. It’s much quicker and sharper and you don’t get much time on the ball. Also you soon realise that chances can be scarce and when they do fall your way you have to take them.”

Despite being the youngest member of the squad, McCabe says she has been made to feel at home by the older players and has enjoyed picking their brains as she tries to learn the ropes.

“They’ve all been very good and I have had little chats with the likes of Emma Byrne and Niamh Fahey that have been very helpful.  They’ve had very successful careers so it is great to get advice from them,” says McCabe.

Ireland manager Sue Ronan won’t name her team until just before kick-off tomorrow as she is waiting for a couple of little niggles to clear and wants to have a full strength squad to select from.

“This will be our toughest test since we played Germany last September. Spain are an excellent team who are preparing to go to the World Cup Finals as one of the potential winners.  They are very good on the ball and keep possession well but they can also deliver dangerous crosses from either flank. We will have to be at our very best to match to them so it is a formidable challenge for us,” said Ronan.

Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team Squad (v Spain)

Goalkeepers: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Niamh Reid-Burke (Raheny United).

Defenders: Megan Campbell (Florida State University), Meabh De Burca (Galway WFC), Niamh Fahey (Chelsea), Aine O'Gorman (UCD Waves), Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United).

Midfielders: Emma Beckett (Amazon Grimstad), Diane Caldwell (Avaldsnes), Ciara Grant (UCD Waves), Siobhan Killeen (Raheny United), Denise O'Sullivan (Glasgow City), Julie Ann Russell (UCD Waves).

Forwards: Carol Breen (Wexford Youths Women’s AFC), Ruesha Littlejohn (Celtic), Katie McCabe (Raheny United), Fiona O'Sullivan (Notts County).