Irish U19 women scrape victory against Turkey
Ireland's slim hopes of reaching the UEFA championship finals this summer received a timely boost in Sweden on Monday with a narrow 3-2 victory against a stubborn Turkey side.
In today's other group 1 game, England came from behind twice to beat the group hosts, Sweden 3-2 which all but guarantees England a place in the finals. Ireland will now take on Sweden on Thursday with both sides hoping that they can be the competition's best runner-up with the best record against the sides finishing first and third in their pool which would seal them a place in the finals in Macedonia.
Susan Ronan's side got off to strong start and they took the lead through American born, Shelby Murphy in the 32nd minute following some good work from winger, Cherelle Khassal. The Benfica midfielder picked the ball up on the right-hand side and she beat three Turkish defenders on the wing and cut the ball back into the box from the by-line and as Dora Gorman miss-hit the initial ball, Shelby Murphy was on-hand to tap the ball in at the far post.
Amy Ryan who was making her return to the Irish squad doubled the lead in the 40th minute after a good move from the Irish midfield to Ryan who played a clever one-two with Shelby Murphy which allowed the striker through on goal as she dispatched the ball past the keeper with ease.
The Irish allowed Turkey to get back into the game just before half-time when a sloppy pass from right-back Kerry-Ann Glynn was played straight to Turkish striker, Kara Fatma who collected the ball and slotted it past keeper, Aisling Dyer, giving her no chance.
The Irish thought they had secured the win in the 75th minute with their third goal through Ciara Grant. Irish striker, Amy Ryan floated in a corner from the right and the Kilmacrennan midfielder sweetly caught the ball on the volley from 10 yards out, powering it beyond the keeper and into the back of the net.
Five minutes later however, Turkey were back in the game through Erturk who slammed home from close range after Ireland failed to clear a Didem Karagenç free-kick.
In a nervy final few minutes, Ireland did hang on for a valuable victory ahead of next Thursday's meeting with last year's beaten UEFA U19 finalists, Sweden.
Irish manager, Susan Ronan expressed her relief at the result and admitted that her team did not perform to the best of their abilities, "I obviously have to commend the players for pulling the result out of the bag in what was a very difficult match. At the end of the day, the record books will show that we won today but to be honest, we underestimated Turkey and made it difficult for ourselves for large periods of the game," she said.
"We will now have to turn our attention to the final game against Sweden which will be a different test for us entirely. We have two days for our players to recover and rest and I know that they will be very eager to put this game behind them and focus on the final game," she added.
UEFA Under-19 Women's Championship Elite Phase Qualifiers:
Saturday March 27
Republic of Ireland 0-3 England
Monday March 29
Republic of Ireland 3-2 Turkey
Thursday April 1 (2pm)
Sweden v Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland: Aisling Dyer, Kerry Ann Glynn, Shelby Murphy, Rebecca Walsh, Karen Duggan, Amy Ryan, Dora Gorman, Ciara Grant, Megan Campbell, Cherelle Khassal, Lois Roche
Substitutes: Niamh Reid-burke, Zoe Murphy, Julie Ann Russell, Ciara O'Brien, Zoe Doherty, Elizabeth Fenlon, Denise O'Sullivan