U16 girls clinch match in sudden death
The Republic of Ireland U16 girls faced a tough challenge against a strong Austrian side this afternoon at Home Farm, with the home side showing real resilience to come back from behind to win on penalties. Straight from kick-off the Austrians showed their strength, dominating midfield possession despite the best efforts of Danielle Burke, Alex Kavanagh and Ireland captain, Leah Reybet Dignam. Indeed, the Austrian goalkeeper, Milena Zink only touched the ball once in the first half, and that came in the 36th minute, after Ireland had gone a goal down to a Maileen Mössner header, struck low into the bottom corner past a diving Aoife McColgan.
Austria had already come close twice, their captain Jenni Klein combining well with Melanie Brunnthaler and Jana Scharnböck who pounced in tandem to take advantage of some miscommunication across the Irish back four. Despite Scharnböck being sin-binned for a goal mouth push on Isobel Finnegan in the 26th minute, Austria kept a firm grip on the entire opening half.
That was to change when Sharon Boyle’s charges emerged from the dressing room, immediately looking more confident and pressing higher with Lynn Craven, Leanne Kiernan and Lauren Kelly causing problems for the Austrian defence.
However Austria still had the capacity to show their teeth as they did in the 69th minute when Melanie Bruunthaler fired a curling shot to the far side of Aoife McColgan. The Irish keeper reacted well to clear the danger.
Irish persistence paid off shortly afterwards and a penalty was awarded following an Austrian hand-ball in a goal mouth scramble. Isobel Finnegan stepped up to bring Ireland level with a goal that saw the game out in a 1-1 draw.
Penalties beckoned and after scoring five each, it went to sudden death with Ireland emerging 6-5 winners at Home Farm. Next up, Denmark on Monday in Gannon Park.
Ireland: Aoife McColgan, Isobel Finnegan, Alexandra Kavanagh, Leah Reybet-Degat (Nicole Plunkett ’40), Niamh Sheehan (Lauren Kelly ’40), Leanne Kiernan (Heather Payne ’48), Danielle Burke, Tara O’Gorman, Caoimhe Walsh, Zoe Green, Ciana Brogan (Lynn Craven ‘39)
Austria: Zink, Krosp (Kurz ’80), Wienroither, Mossner, Klein, Alzner (Krumbock ’80), Schneider, Fellhofer, Brunnthaler, Scharnbock (Bachler ’64), Grigic