WNT | REPORT | Italy 0-0 Ireland

WNT | REPORT | Italy 0-0 Ireland

The Ireland Women's National Team kickstarted their year with a credible 0-0 draw away to Italy in Viola Park, Florence.

Taking on a team ranked 14th in the world was always going to be a difficult challenge for Eileen Gleeson's team but they proved that they were up for it with this impressive performance.

The hosts had a couple of chances to break the deadlock - particularly through substitute Michela Catena - but it was Ireland who got the ball into the back of the net; only for Leanne Kiernan's effort to be ruled offside.

Ireland showed that they can adapt to playing against top-ranked teams and also shift in system, formation and approach as they did throughout this entertaining contest.

There were a number of stand-out performers, including Jessie Stapleton in centre midfield on her first senior start and defender Niamh Fahey earning the Sky Player of the Match award in her first appearance since the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

However, this was very much a team effort. As was the case in the 2023 UEFA Nations League, this Ireland squad work for each other and the impact from the substitutes' bench was again telling with Kiernan, Amber Barrett, Lucy Quinn, Lily Agg and Abbie Larkin all making vital contributions.

This game was also an opportunity to welcome some players back following long spells away, including Fahey and Kiernan but also Jess Ziu and Aoife Mannion. None of the quartet looked out of place and that will give Gleeson fresh headaches for team selection ahead of Tuesday's game against Cymru in Tallaght Stadium.

Italy: Katja Schroffenegger; Sara Gama (Elisa Bartoli 50), Cecilia Salvai, Elena Linari; Elisabetta Oliviero, Aurora Galli (Arianna Caruso 76), Giulia Dragoni (Barbara Bonansea 86), Giada Greggi (Severini 76); Benedetta Glionna (Agnese Bonfantini 65), Martina Piemonte, Cristiana Girelli (Michela Catena 65).

Ireland: Courtney Brosnan; Heather Payne (Aoife Mannion 91), Caitlin Hayes, Niamh Fahey, Katie McCabe; Jess Ziu (Abbie Larkin 69), Jessie Stapleton (Lily Agg 69), Megan Connolly, Izzy Atkinson (Leanne Kiernan 61); Ruesha Littlejohn (Lucy Quinn HT); Kyra Carusa (Amber Barrett 61).

Referee: Emanuela Rusta (Albania).

FAI080-139 WNT Two Match Pack Ireland v Sweden Website 360x275.png
FAI080-139 WNT Two Match Pack Ireland v Sweden Website 360x275.png

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