Ireland lose to Austria at Istria Cup
The Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team were beaten 2-0 by Austria this afternoon at the Istria Cup in Croatia.
Austria opened the scoring after 25 minutes through Nadine Prohaska and extended that lead after 55 minutes through Nina Berger.
It was a disappointing result for the Irish girls who finished bottom of Group A on goal difference after losing to Slovakia on Friday and drawing 1-1 with Hungary last Wednesday. The team will finish their Istria Cup campaign on Wednesday when they play World Cup bound Costa Rica for ninth and tenth place.
Manager Sue Ronan’s focus this week has been on looking at as many players as possible and trying out different combinations and for this match she made six personnel changes from Friday with Niamh Fahey, Sophie Perry, Ciara Grant, Ruesha Littlejohn and Aine O’Gorman the only players to have started against Slovakia. It would have been only five changes had Megan Campbell taken to the pitch but she suffered a migrane during the warm-up and had to be replaced by Julie Ann Russell which also resulted in couple of positional switches.
With Slovakia having beaten Hungary 3-1 earlier in the day, Austria needed to beat Ireland by four clear goals to top the group and book a place in Wednesday’s final but it was Ireland who carved out the best chance early on when Niamh Fahey headed wide after meeting Sophie Perry’s deep free-kick at the back post.
Austria broke the deadlock after 25 minutes when Ireland failed to clear their lines and lost possession inside the area which allowed Berger to pull the ball back for Prohaska to turn it home from six metres.
Ireland played well for the rest of the half and almost equalised on 40 minutes when Ruesha Littlejohn played in Carol Breen but she was denied a goal on her first international start by the outstretched leg of Austria keeper Manuela Zinsberger. A couple of minutes later Louise Quinn headed wide from a Russell corner and Ireland went in at half-time with plenty to build on for the second-half.
However they were rocked on 55 minutes when Berger found space and time outside the box and blasted a right-footed shot high into the roof of the net to put Austria firmly in control.
Needing to score four, Austria did most of the pressing but Ireland managed to counter-attack well and substitute Fiona O’Sullivan almost pulled a goal back on 83 minutes when she danced around three defenders only to see her powerful shot batted away by Zinsberger.
For Sue Ronan’s post-match interview please click this link: https://vimeo.com/121703804
For post-match interview with Ciara Grant and Fiona O’Sullivan please click this link: https://vimeo.com/121691352
Ireland will now play Costa Rica, who are ranked 37th in the World but are the fourth highest ranked team behind USA, Canada and Mexico in the CONCACAF Federation. Like the other three they have qualified for this summer’s World Cup Finals in Canada where they will face Brazil, South Korea and Spain in the group stages. The match will take place in Umag at 10am (Irish time) on Wednesday.
Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne (Arsenal); Aine O'Gorman (UCD Waves), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United), Diane Caldwell (Avaldsnes), Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion); Ruesha Littlejohn (Celtic), Niamh Fahey (Chelsea), Ciara Grant (UCD Waves); Julie Ann Russell (UCD Waves), Carol Breen (Wexford Youths Women’s AFC), Katie McCabe (Raheny United). Subs: Denise O’Sullivan (Glasgow City) for Littlejohn (70 mins), Fiona O'Sullivan (Notts County) for Russell (67 mins), Stephanie Roche (Houston Dash) for Grant (75 mins), Sarah Rowe (Raheny United) for Breen (85 mins). Unused Subs: Niamh Reid-Burke (Raheny United), Meabh De Burca (Galway WFC), Megan Campbell (Florida State University), Lauren Dwyer (Raheny United), Megan Connolly (College Corinthians).
Istria Cup 2015
Group A Results
March 4 – Republic of Ireland 1 Hungary 1, Austria 1 Slovakia 1
March 6 – Slovakia 2 Republic of Ireland 0, Austria 1 Hungary 0
March 9 – Republic of Ireland 0 Austria 2, Slovakia 3 Hungary 1
Group A Table
March 11 – Positional Play-off (9/10) Republic of Ireland v Costa Rica, Umag, 10:00 (Irish time).