Swiss consign Ireland Women to qualifying defeat

Swiss consign Ireland Women to qualifying defeat

31/03/'10: Republic of Ireland 1 - 2 Switzerland
31st Mar 2010
World Cup Qualifer
Republic of Ireland1-2Switzerland
Ciara Grant 57Mandly 21, Beney 54
Wednesday, 31 March 2010Richmond Park, Dublin

Swiss consign Ireland Women to qualifying defeat

The Republic of Ireland produced a gallant comeback in tonight's FIFA World Cup qualifier against Switzerland at Richmond Park but couldn't force an equaliser.

Despite trailing two-nil early in the second half, Ireland pulled a goal back through Ciara Grant and the captain almost clinched a point in the last minute when her thunderous free-kick rebounded off the crossbar.

 

Ireland started sluggishly, their inability to retain possession allowing the technically-gifted Swiss to utilise the pace of their attackers Ramona Bachmann and Martina Moser.

Yvonne Tracy conceded a free-kick and a booking for a trip on Bachmann as she raided towards goal on 18 minutes and Ireland were relieved to see Sandy Mandly curl the effort from the edge of the box over the bar.

Bachmann, the reigning Switzerland player of the year, bore down on goal once again two minutes later and it took a brave block by Ciara McCormack to foil the forward's shot.

But Bachmann's influence was to play a direct role in the opener on 21 minutes when she beat the advancing goalkeeper Emma Byrne to a through ball on the edge of the box, enabling Anna Marie Crnogorcevic to stroke the loose ball into the path of Madly who fired into an empty net from an acute angle.

Ireland spurned a golden chance to level just four minutes later as Stephanie Roche was given a free run on goal after Marina Keller failed to cut out a Sonya Hughes pass but the striker couldn't profit by lifting her shot clear of the crossbar.

But the visitors finished the half the stronger, with Ireland forced to defend deep. Mary Therese McDonnell produced a last-gasp clearance after Moser cut in from the right and drilled a low delivery into the six yard box. The Irish were thankful too that Mandly's cross from the left two minutes short of the interval was too heavy for the inrushing Bachmann to convert.

The Swiss didn't have long to wait for their second following the turnaround. On 54 minutes, a rehearsed corner-kick saw Moser pick out Noemie Beney a yard inside the penalty area and she hooked a first-time lob over Byrne high into the far top corner.

Ireland's response was swift and they pulled a goal back three minutes later. A corner by Roche was only half-cleared and Yvonne Tracy's cut-back into the six-yard box flicked off Ciara Grant and into the net.

The tireless Roche got on the end of a long pass after 62 minutes and headed past Brunner but Keller raced back in time to clear and spare her keeper's blushes.

Ireland sensed an equaliser and Sullivan drove into the box ten minutes later from the left and forced a near-post save from Brunner.

But they were inches away from claiming a point when Grant's free smacked off the woodwork after Michele O'Brien was floored as she burst towards the box.

"The result brings to the end of our hopes of qualifying for the World Cup but I was proud of the players' efforts against a talented Swiss side," said Ireland manager Noel King afterwards. "We were unlucky not to get a draw after pressing them for an equaliser in the final ten minutes."

 

Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne (Arsenal); Mary Therese McDonnell (Chicago Red Stars), Yvonne Tracy (Arsenal), Niamh Fahey (Arsenal), Ciara McCormack (Kolbotn FC); Aine O'Gorman (Stella Maris), Ciara Grant (Arsenal), Sonya Hughes (St. Fancis), Michele O'Brien (Chicago Red 11); Stephanie Roche (Raheny United), Fiona O'Sullivan (Sacramento Storm).

Substitution: Julie-Ann Russell (Salthill Devon) for Roche (70 mins).

Switzerland: Marisa Brunner; Danique Stein, Noemie Beney, Marina Keller, Rahel Graf; Martina Moser, Sandy Mandly (Isabelle Meyer 84 mins), Lara Dickenmann, Caroline Abbe; Ramona Bachmann (Selina Custer 90 mins), Anna Marie Crnogorcevic (Jehona Mahmet 64 mins).

Referee: Jana Adamkova (Czech Republic).