Winning start to Women's World Cup campaign

Winning start to Women's World Cup campaign

Republic of Ireland 2 Slovakia 0
22nd Sep 2013

Republic of Ireland 2 Slovakia 0

The Republic of Ireland made a winning start to their FIFA Women's World Cup campaign with 2-0 win over Slovakia at s sun-drenched Carlisle Grounds in Bray today.

Sue Ronan's team dominated the majority of their Group 1 opener but did not hit the front until Julie-Ann Russell superbly curled in a free-kick and that was added to by substitute Denise O'Sullivan.

Ireland were full value for the three points, which could prove crucial in the long run with group favourites Germany beating Russia 9-0 on Saturday, and there were plenty of positives for the team to take from the performance.

Captain Emma Byrne, earning her 99th senior cap, was called on to make one save late on, but the Arsenal goalkeeper was rarely troubled as the home team's defence stood firm against their visitors.

Ireland could have taken the lead a lot earlier though with striker Fiona O'Sullivan dragging a shot just wide inside the first minute of play and the Freiburg player knew that it was an opportunity missed.

Still, Ronan's troops marched on with Shannon Smyth twice firing shots wide in the first half as the girls in green pinned their opponents back inside their own half and applied most of the pressure.

But it took a moment of magic from Peamount United's Russell to open the scoring. The Galway native took aim from a free-kick around 25 yards from goal and curled it into the top corner.

From there, Ireland grew in confidence and were soon celebrating again when Denise O'Sullivan met a cross from the right side from Sophie Perry to head in and secure a much-deserved win.

Ireland could have added another one or two goals, but they could afford to reserve some energy for Thursday's clash away to Croatia, where another win would put them in a fantastic position in Group 1.

The target for Ronan is to clinch second place and hopefully a play-off spot so that they have a real shot at reaching the 2015 World Cup in Canada. This was certainly the start that she wanted.

To view goals click here

Republic of Ireland: Byrne; Cooke (Perry 60), Tracy, Caldwell, Campbell; Graham (D O'Sullivan 70), Smyth; De Burca, Littlejohn (O'Gorman 82), Russell; F O'Sullivan.

Slovakia: Korenciova; Biroova, Matysova, Harsanyova, Vojtekova; Ondrusova, Cerovska, Skorvankova, Feckova; Klechova; Bartovicova.

Referee: P Larsson (SWE).