Following a tight opening period, the Girls in Green finally broke the deadlock in the 27th minute. Leanne Kiernan, who was named the Continental Tyres Women’s National League Young Player of the Year last week, latched on to a sublime through ball from Roma McLaughlin to finish into the far corner of the net.
It was Kiernan again who doubled Ireland’s advantage on the stroke of half time, finishing on the rebound after Alex Kavanagh’s initial shot was parried by the Portugeuse goalkeeper, Ines Pereira.
Ireland had to wait until the 82nd minute to add to their tally. An inviting free kick from wide on the left, whipped in by Tiegan Ruddy, was met at the back post by a brilliant header from Chloe Moloney.
There was still time for a relentless Ireland to find a fourth as Dearbhaile Beirne’s cool finish gave the Girls in Green the perfect ending to a clinical display.
Speaking after the game, Head Coach Dave Connell was delighted with what he saw from his side. ‘We picked up where we left off in the qualifying round with a very good performance. We played some fantastic football and could have scored more.’
‘We looked solid at the back, the midfield linked the play excellently, and we have a lot of players that can score goals, so it was as good as a performance as we have put in in a long time,’ Connell concluded.
Next up for the Women’s Under-19 side is a clash with the Netherlands on Thursday.
Republic of Ireland: Amanda McQuillan (GK) (McAloon 70), Jamie Finn © (Ruddy 45), Niamh Farrelly (Donnelly 70), Chloe Moloney, Niamh Prior, Jess Nolan (Payne 45), Alex Kavanagh (Daly 60), Lucy McCartan (Craven 45), Roma McLaughlin (Watters 70), Leanne Kiernan (Beirne 60), Saoirse Noonan (Ryan Doyle 60).
Substitutes: Naoisha McAloon (GK), Fiona Donnelly, Sophie Watters, Evelyn Daly, Lynn Craven, Dearbhaile Beirne, Eleanor Ryan Doyle, Tiegan Ruddy, Heather Payne.
Portugal: Ines Pereira (GK), Ana Rute Rodrigues, Bruna Costa, Barbara Marques, Diana Gomes, Catarina Amado, Leandra Pereira, Neuza Besugo, Josephine Monteiro, , Tania Rodrigues, Carolina Rocha.
Substitutes: Ana Rita Oliveira, Ines Salvador, Daniela Silva, Nicole Nunes, Ines Maia, Sofia Borges, Constanca Silva, Beatriz Fonseca, Joanna Seca, Catarina Carmo, Ana Rita Soares, Joana Santos.