WU17s draw with Northern Ireland in Belfast


WU17s draw with Northern Ireland in Belfast

The Republic of Ireland Women's Under-17s played out a second successive 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland in a friendly international in Queen's University, Belfast.
20th Aug 2021

Having met in Dublin on Wednesday, the two teams traded home advantage to face off again with Head Coach James Scott making 10 changes to Ireland's starting line-up.

The sole survivor from the starting XI was Shelbourne attacker Abbie Larkin, who once again wore the captain's armband, and she was a threat throughout with her dribbling and clever runs off the ball.

If Scott was looking for an improvement in any specific area following his debrief of the last game it was in creating more goalscoring opportunities. And his players delivered in that regard, even though the ball never crossed the goal line.

DLR Waves winger Joy Ralph came closest to breaking the deadlock when she rounded the Northern Ireland goalkeeper but her shot hit the post. Tara O'Hanlon also struck the goal frame with a shot from distance, while Katie McCarn had an effort cleared off the line.

At the other end of the pitch, Galway WFC's Eve Dossen has super in defence and showed just why she is being tipped for a bright future in the game by winning challenges and driving her team forward.

Two games, no goals but plenty of positives for Scott to take ahead of a double-header away to Portugal in September and then the UEFA European Championship qualifiers in October.

Reflecting on the two games, Scott said: "These games gave us an opportunity to look at 24 players who we hadn't had in with us before - 22 of them started over the two games. So it was great to be able to firm up how we wanted to play but also how we want to conduct ourselves on & off the pitch.

"We created more chances in the second game, which was pleasing but we just didn't put them away. We felt coming out of the first game that we needed to do better in the final third and we did that in the second game, but just could not score.

"Overall, I'm pleased with the two performances. I have to give credit to the teams in the EA SPORTS Women's National Under-17 League as the players coming in to us are playing a similar style so nothing we are doing is completely alien to them. The players are clearly benefitting from playing at that level as this is not new to them.

"It was ideal to play these games this week because normally these fixtures wouldn't be available. But with COVID restrictions we didn't have to travel abroad, we were able to play in Dublin and then in Belfast, and we thank Northern Ireland for two good games. Now we look ahead to Portugal next month."

Northern Ireland: Reilly; Tweedie, Sweetlove, Coyle, Keenan; Crooks, Marks, Johnston; Halliday, Scott, Kerr.

Republic of Ireland: Keane; Russell (Fitzpatrick 75), Dossen, Pearson (O’Hanlon 45), Clynch; O’Mahony (Riley 65), Flanagan (Kelly 55), Long (Lawrence 55); Larkin (O’Brien 75), O’Sullivan (Law 65), Ralph (McCarn 65).