Belfast Telegraph

McDaniel makes history as NI dare to dream

N Ireland 1 Scotland 1

By Laure James

Supersub Louise McDaniel made history last night by scoring Northern Ireland's first ever goal in a major women's finals in front of a 1,771 attendance at Lurgan's Mourneview Park - and Alfie Wylie's side are now daring to dream.

Her 85th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Scotland handed Northern Ireland their first point, and an overwhelmed McDaniel said it shows how far they've come in little over two years, since they discovered they would play hosts to Uefa's Women's Under-19 European Championship.

"I am absolutely lost for words to be honest. I am just buzzing. We all are," she said.

"We set a theme for this match earlier, which was never give up, and just before I went on Alfie said to me, 'Come on Louise, just go and work out there', and I did.

"I can't put it into words, I am just so happy, all the girls worked so, so hard. We don't want to just be here as hosts, we are showing what we can do."

Boss Wylie was fighting back the tears as he paid tribute to the girls for epitomising tenacity and belief.

If Northern Ireland can snatch a better scoreline against Germany than Scotland do against Spain, they could earn themselves a play-off and potentially progress to the semi-finals - a prospect that wasn't thought possible less than a week ago.

"Previously we would have found ourselves one goal down and gone on to lose three or four," said Wylie.

"That was incredible. It was very special. I was in tears at the end and I feel choked up now.

"The German coaches are unbelievable, they demonstrated the kind of mindset you need to have tonight, they came up and congratulated me after the game. They have already qualified and could have gone back to their hotel to think of who they may draw in the semi-final, but they sat and watched us for 94 minutes - and enjoyed it."

Before the game, Wylie had vowed, rather than hinted, that his players would throw everything they had into a quest for points, and he was right.

Every player proved themselves as a credit to the country, in front of a passionate and vocal crowd of 1,771 at Mourneview Park.

Early on, Rebecca Bassett's lung-busting run to out-pace Samantha Kerr and slip beyond Chanelle Brown drew massive cheers, but her cross was just too high for Emily Wilson to connect with.

It was largely another night to remember for goalkeeper Lauren Perry. She leapt high to make contact with Claire Adams' shot, just brought it back from the line and then worked to smother it in the box, with Scotland players piling in around her.

Scotland star Amy Gallagher then just hit agonisingly wide, before Northern Ireland replied. Brenna McPartlan gave Cailin Michie the slip to fire at goal half an hour in, but straight at Rebecca Flaherty.

Bassett then held the ball up well on the right side and found Reilly, whose delivery into the box fell to Scotland.

Moments after the restart, Scotland caught their hosts sleeping.

Kirsty Hanson picked up Callacher's cross from the right hand side of the box and clinically drilled a low shot past Perry in the Northern Ireland goal.

McDaniel equalised seven minutes after coming off the bench with a glancing header from Reilly's corner.

Northern Ireland: Perry, White, McMaster, Burns, Moore (Orr, 84 mins), McFarland (McDaniel, 78 mins), McPartlan, Reilly, Bell, Bassett, Wilson (Magee, 70 mins). Unused subs: McCaughtry, Robson, Coppel, Beggs.

Scotland: Flaherty, Brown (Napier, 67 mins), Whyte, Paterson, Michie, Boyce (McGregor, 67 mins), Adams, Cornet, Kerr, Gallacher (Notley, 84 mins), Hanson. Unused subs: Clachers, Dalgliesh, Hay, McLintock. Referee: Marte Sørø (Norway) Match rating: 8/10

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