Republic of Ireland 1 - 0 Slovakia | 2017 - Senior Women's Friendlies | 999943444

Senior Women's Friendlies | Tallaght Stadium , Dublin
Monday, April 10, 2017

Republic of Ireland 1 - 0 Slovakia

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REPORT: WNT 1-0 Slovakia - Roche penalty seals home win

Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team continued their fine run of form with a comfortable 1-0 victory over Slovakia at Tallaght Stadium.
10th Apr 2017

Stephanie Roche’s second-half penalty was the difference as Head Coach Colin Bell got a win in his first home game since his appointment in February.

The contest started slowly and it wasn’t until the 39th minute that Ireland created the first opportunity of the game. Megan Connolly found space to thread a neat through-ball to Houston Dash star Denise O’Sullivan who ran on goal to have her first effort saved and her follow-up parried behind brilliantly by keeper Lucia El Dahabiova.

Straight after the break, Ireland took the lead as Connolly controlled a right-sided cross near the penalty spot and was brought down for the referee to award a penalty. Roche stepped up to put the ball to the keeper’s right and put Ireland into a deserved lead.

Slovakia failed to threaten throughout the match and were unfortunate not to fall further behind when the brilliant Katie McCabe picked up the ball on the half-way line to dart past two defenders, turn inside but her shot was well saved by the in-form El Dahabiova.

Nine minutes from the end, El Dahabiova was beaten but defender Alexandra Biroova came to her rescue when O’Sullivan hooked the ball into the area for the on-rushing Roche to flick the ball past the keeper but the defender slid in to clear.

McCabe deserved a goal in what was an inspirational performance from the Tallaght-born attacker and two minutes from the end, McCabe picked the ball up in the centre-circle, drove at the defence but her curling effort was  well saved once again.

Head Coach Colin Bell: “Delighted for the players to get the win. They’ve worked really hard in training this week and I’ve seen plenty of progress from the squad.

“Winning is a habit and since coming in, I think the players are beginning to pick it up and today, they gave the opposition very few opportunities which was great.

“It was only a 1-0 lead but I always felt like we were comfortable against a good Slovakia side so when you count today and the Cyprus Cup performances, we’re definitely moving in the right direction.

“I feel like we’re in a much stronger place now and really looking forward to getting the players back in for the Iceland and Scotland games in the summer.”

Republic of Ireland: Byrne (Hourihan 46), Perry, Scott, Quinn, Duggan, Caldwell, O’Gorman, Connolly (Russell 74), O’Sullivan, Roche (Littlejohn 86), McCabe (O’Riordan 89).

Subs not used: Reid-Burke (GK), McCarthy, Berrill, DeBurca, Shine, Keenan.

WNT: Connolly puts exams to one side for Slovakia test

Republic of Ireland WNT midfielder Megan Connolly will have to put her exams to the back of her mind ahead of the Slovakia match tomorrow.
9th Apr 2017

The 20-year old attacking midfielder is currently going through an exam period for her Social Science degree at Florida State University but flew into camp on Saturday to represent her country.

The last time Connolly played for the Republic of Ireland WNT at Tallaght Stadium, Cork-born Connolly notched her first ever senior goal in the 9-0 win over Montenegro.

Despite the late entry into camp, Connolly says she is feeling good and can't wait to play back at Tallaght Stadium tomorrow, with kick-off at 2pm.

Connolly said: "I'm really excited to get back and play at Tallaght Stadium. Especially after the Cyprus Cup, I think that has really set the tone for us for what we want going forward.

"I'm feeling good, I was able to get a good sleep in and it was good for me to get out and train because that really helps me recover.

"Since coming in, we're doing everything right off the pitch so hopefully we'll be able to get it right on the pitch."

Despite being in the off-season period at Florida State University, Connolly was one of the star performers in the Cyprus Cup squad, starting three of the four games.

Ireland progressed to the 3rd/4th placed match for the first time ever at the tournament and Connolly believes the squad have set a standard for the future.

Connolly continued: "It was a new start and it went really well so we're all really excited. We know what we want and we've laid the foundations for the future now.

"We're excited to come back to Ireland with what we've learnt and impress. It was really good for me to get back into international football and I think the team is definitely improving."

It will be Colin Bell's first home game as Head Coach since taking on the role in February and Connolly says it has been an honour to work with the UEFA Women's Champions League winning manager.

Connolly added: "It's been great working with Colin Bell. He has the experience to take us all the way. It's just an honour to be in the room with him and get to work with him.

"We know that his goal is exactly what we want as well so we're all working together for that.

"Hopefully, we can get some really good support tomorrow who could drive us on and get another great result this year."

Republic of Ireland v Slovakia
Date: Monday, April 10th
Kick-off: 2pm
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
Tickets: €5 adults/€2 Children/FREE for SSE Airtricity League season ticket holders