Portugal 1 - 3 Republic of Ireland | 2018 - Senior Womens Friendlies | 999944358

Senior Women's Friendlies International Friendly | Estadio San Miguel, The Azores, Portugal
Sunday, January 21, 2018

Portugal 1 - 3 Republic of Ireland

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Ireland WNT: Kiernan shines in dominant Portugal victory

Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team rounded off an important week in the Azores with an impressive 3-1 win over Portugal.
21st Jan 2018

Goals from captain Katie McCabe, Leanne Kiernan and Louise Quinn secured the victory against the hosts, who qualified for the European Championships in the summer, with Diana Silva’s strike a late reply.

Ireland suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat in the first international friendly between the two sides on Thursday and Head Coach Colin Bell made two changes from the defeat. Ruesha Littlejohn started her first game since September 2016 and she was partnered up front by Shelbourne striker Leanne Kiernan.

The latter was heavily involved for Ireland’s opener just past the half-hour.  Peamount winger Heather Payne latched onto a loose ball on the half-way line and put Kiernan through down the right, and it was her brilliant cross which found McCabe to head home.

Three minutes after the break, Kiernan had a deserved goal of her own. Niamh Fahey played a long ball forward and the Cavan-native used her blistering pace to beat the defender to the ball and fire home over the keeper.

Ireland continued to dominate the game with a McCabe long-range effort just tipped over in the 50th minute before Arsenal defender Quinn added a third and secured the victory.

The quick-thinking McCabe collected a short left-sided corner and found a pin-point cross for Quinn to rise highest and head home off the post. Diana Silva scored a consulation for the hosts with 10 minutes remaining as Ireland get the perfect result to round off the two-game week in the Azores.

Republic of Ireland WNT Head Coach Colin Bell said: “It was a deserved victory. We were much better today. I thought we were very sluggish on Thursday, maybe the long journey had an effect but that was much improved.

“We made a couple of changes and put two up front, and I think we created plenty of problems for Portugal. They’re a very good side but as soon as we scored the first goal, we were in control of the game and got the result.

“They were fantastic goals and I’m delighted for Leanne Kiernan who performed to the levels we know she’s capable of today. She’s trained really well over the past two days and got a deserved goal, I’m delighted for her.

“They were plenty of great performances and it’s been another important week as we continue to prepare for the qualifiers in April. This is a great result to keep that momentum going and we can take plenty of confidence from this.”

Republic of Ireland: Hourihan (GK), Payne, Caldwell, Quinn, Fahey, Scott, Toland, O'Sullivan, McCabe (C), Littlejohn (McLoughlin 81), Kiernan (Atkinson 90).

Ireland WNT: Fahey wants improvement in second friendly

Republic of Ireland Women's National Team midfielder Niamh Fahey wants to see an improvement in tomorrow's second international friendly against Portugal.
20th Jan 2018

Colin Bell's Ireland side suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat in the first friendly on Thursday as captain Dolores Silva netted a second-half penalty. 

Ireland had few chances in the game as they look to use the week as crucial preparation for the upcoming FIFA 2019 World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and the Netherlands at Tallaght Stadium in April.

Fahey, who moved from Chelsea to Bordeaux last year, has been a crucial member of Colin Bell's starting XI during the qualifying campaign and she believes every game and training session is important preparation for the April qualifiers.

Fahey said: "We were obviously really disappointed with our performance the other night. We didn't really give them many chances so to lose the game was difficult to take.

"We took a lot from the defeat though and we've analysed the game, and we'll be looking to bring that into tomorrow's game. Portugal are obviously a really good side and now we know what levels we need to be at to get the result we need.

"The standard has been excellent in training this week and it's a really important week for us to work on our tactics ahead of those April qualifiers. We've got the trip to Fota Island in February as well but every training session is crucial in working towards those fixtures."

Stephanie Roche, Aine O'Gorman, Megan Campbell, Sophie Perry and Karen Duggan have all missed the trip to the Azores due to injury which has seen a number of young players called up to the squad. 

Fahey has praised the quality of the young players and says the group are determined to get a positive result in the second international friendly to round off an important week. 

She added: "The young players have done extremely well. Obviously, we're a bit short at the moment with the amount of injuries we've had but the girls have stepped up from the Women's Under-17s and they've fitted in brilliantly.

"It can be a really difficult step up to make so credit must go to them. It's been a great week really. Of course, it is a bit warmer than home so a bit of warm weather training is always really good for the fitness at this time of year. 

"We know what we need to do tomorrow and we'll be determined to get a positive result to round off another good week. It would give us a real lift and I'm looking forward to it."

TEAM NEWS: Colin Bell has a fully-fit squad to choose from for the second international friendly against Portugal.