Winning start for Ireland Women's U19s in UEFA Elite phase

Winning start for Ireland Women's U19s in UEFA Elite phase

THE Republic of Ireland's Women's U19 side produced a fantastic 1-0 win over top seeds Austria in the UEFA Championships Elite Qualifying Round in Ermelo, Holland, today.
5th Apr 2014

Austria 0 Republic of Ireland 1

THE Republic of Ireland's Women's U19 side produced a fantastic 1-0 win over top seeds Austria in the UEFA Championships Elite Qualifying Round in Ermelo, Holland, today.

Dave Connell's side claimed all three points thanks to a stunning individual goal from Clare Shine in the 49th minute and an impressive defensive display lead by goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan and her back four of Keeva Keenan, Grace Wright, Ciara O'Connell and Savannah McCarthy.

The Irish will meet hosts Holland in their second game of the group on Monday hoping to seal another win which could help them claim the one place in the finals tournament in Norway this summer.

Connell's side had such control that keeper Brosnan did not actually have a save to make despite the Austrians having a lot of possession.

Megan Connolly had Ireland's first effort on goal in the 10th minute but keeper Jasmin Pal made a comfortable save.

Nicole Billa had a chance just off target in the 23rd minute before Teresa Knauseder had a similar attempt narrowly wide four minutes later but the Irish defence was not unduly troubled.

Sarah Rowe had an attempted blocked in the 36th minute before Connolly had another attempt saved by Pal one minute into the second half.

Shine's individual strike – which came after a run that left three players in her wake - put the Irish ahead in the 49th minute and Shine was denied a second goal by Pal in the 77th minute.

Substitute Lauren Dwyer had an effort narrowly off target in the 83rd minute and sixty seconds later Ciara O'Connell could have sealed the result when she connected with a Connolly corner but her header was just over.

Teresa Knauseder had a 90th minute shot blocked but the quality of the Irish defence essentially snuffed out the Austrian threat on the day.

"Our game plan really worked. Austria are dangerous if you play to their strengths but we made sure they never really got a grip of the game," said Connell.

"Our plan worked and we got a great goal from Clare. It was a piece of individual brilliance but we know she is capable of that.

"Austria had a lot of possession but we defended really well. Our back five including goalkeeper did really well. They hadn't a shot on target and that tells you everything about about the game.

"We always knew that if we defended well we have the capabilities to nick a goal. We felt at half-time that we would score and then it was down to not conceding. That's how it turned out.

"It sets things up nicely for Monday. It's an equally tough game against the Dutch. They've a very good. We've got off to a good start in the group that's what we wanted."

AUSTRIA: Jasmin Pal, Teresa Knauseder, Barbara Dunst, Annelie Leitner (Isabella Dujmenovic 80), Marina Georgieva, Nicole Billa, Franziska Sottnern (Maria Hasler 59), Sophie Maierhofer, Carina Mahr, Irina Wurzinger (Katharina Naschenweng 72), Simone Krammer.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Courtney Brosnan, Keeva Keenan, Grace Wright, Ciara O'Connell, Savannah McCarthy, Chloe Mustaki, Ciara Rossiter (Lauren Dwyer 76), Megan Connolly, Sarah Rowe, Clare Shine, Amy O'Connor.

FIXTURES

Saturday, April 5
UEFA Women's U19 Elite Qualifying Round Group 5
Austria 0 Republic of Ireland 1, Sportpark DVS '33 Ermelo, Ermelo (NED)

Monday, April 7
UEFA Women's U19 Elite Qualifying Round Group 5
Netherlands v Republic of Ireland, Sportpark DVS '33 Ermelo, Ermelo (NED) (6.30pm Irish)

Thursday, April 10
UEFA Women's U19 Elite Qualifying Round Group 5
Turkey v Republic of Ireland, De Strokel, Harderwijk (NED) (6.00pm Irish)