Ireland defeat Russia in UEFA Championship thriller

Ireland defeat Russia in UEFA Championship thriller

Russia  0-1  Republic of Ireland A Gillian McDonnell strike after 60 minutes secured a win for the Republic of Ireland Women’s U19 team against a stubborn Russia side in the UEFA Championship, elite qualifying phase in Walldorf, Germany this afternoon.
25th Apr 2009

Russia  0-1  Republic of Ireland
A Gillian McDonnell strike after 60 minutes secured a win for the Republic of Ireland Women’s U19 team against a stubborn Russia side in the UEFA Championship, elite qualifying phase in Walldorf, Germany this afternoon.

Ireland now go into Tuesday’s winner takes all tie against Germany with a 100% record with a place in the UEFA Championship finals in Belarus at stake. Susan Ronan’s side ran out deserving winners but they were made to work incredibly hard for their victory at the FC Astoria Stadion.

The Irish got off to a flying start and attacked the Russians from the off and St. Francis’s, Megan Campbell almost got the Irish off to the perfect start after only seven minutes when her in-swinging free-kick from the right hand side caught the goalkeeper by surprise but her effort clipped the crossbar and went out for a goal-kick.

Campbell was giving the Russian defence a torrid time early on and their physical tactics on the St. Francis flyer resulted in a yellow card for a Russian defender after three consecutive cynical fouls.

Irish manager, Susan Ronan was forced into a change after 38 minutes when Lagan Harps defender, Ciara Grant was replaced by Ciara O’Brien due to injury.

Just before half-time, Megan Campbell almost grabbed the opening score from a free-kick on the right hand side, once again. Her in-swinging free-kick eluded the defenders and the goalkeeper looked helpless as the ball cannoned off the cross-bar and back into play just before the Russians cleared the ball and to their delight, the referee blew the half-time whistle.

The Irish took the lead on the hour mark with a spectacular finish from Dundalk’s Gillian McDonnell. In a clever attacking move, Niamh Mulcahy gathered the ball in midfield and she played a perfectly weighted ball over the top and McDonnell slipped in behind the defender and from 10 yards out at a tight angle, she lifted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Megan Campbell almost doubled the lead after 72 minutes with an unbelievable strike from 30 yards. She collected the ball in midfield and she instantly hammered the ball towards goal and her powerful shot came back off the cross-bar and the clearance was made by the Russian defence. Minutes later, the impressive Campbell had to be replaced by Anna McCormack due to injury.

McDonnell almost doubled her tally after 80 minutes only for a magnificent save from Russian keeper, Chichkala. She collected the ball on the left wing, beat her defender and raced towards goal before applying a delicate chip which was agonizingly touched onto the post by the keeper and cleared by the defence.

In the closing minutes, Russia pushed forward in search of an elusive equaliser but the Irish defence of Quinn, Duggan, McCormack, Walsh and O’Brien who did not put a foot wrong for the whole 90 minutes held firm and ensured that Ireland maintain their 100% record going into Tuesday’s showdown with Germany in Viernheim.

Republic of Ireland
Aisling Dyer – Stella Maris
Karen Duggan - Piltown FC
Louise Quinn - Peamount FC (C)
Susan Hackett - Stella Maris
Niamh Mulcahy - Aisling Annacotty
Amanda Parkes - Wilton Utd.
Rebecca Walsh - Salthill Devon
Gillian McDonnell - Dundalk City WFC
Ciara Grant - Lagan Harps
Lillie Billson - Arsenal FC
Megan Campbell - St. Francis

Substitutes
Sinead Crotty - Connecticut Utd. FC
Amy Ryan - Stella Maris
Anna McCormack - Salthill Devon (on for Megan Campbell, 78 mins)
Niamh Nolan - St. Francis
Ciara O’Brien - Tramore AFC (on for Ciara Grant, 38 mins)
Zoe Doherty – Cardonagh (on for Gillian McDonnell, 88 mins)
Lucy Hannon – Salthill Devon

UEFA Championship – Elite Qualifying Phase fixtures and results
Thursday, April 23rd
Republic of Ireland 3-1 Slovakia
Heilbronn Stadium

Saturday, April 25th
Russia 0-1 Republic of Ireland
Walldorf Stadium

Tuesday, April 28th
Germany v Republic of Ireland
Viernheim
Kick-off: 11.00am (local time)