Belfast Telegraph

NI women are outclassed by rampant Republic

Republic of Ireland Women 4 Northern Ireland Women 0

Closed down: Republic of Ireland’s Heather Payne puts pressure on Marissa Callaghan in yesterday’s clash
Closed down: Republic of Ireland’s Heather Payne puts pressure on Marissa Callaghan in yesterday’s clash

By John Fallon

Northern Ireland were no match for their Republic counterparts as they went down to a 4-0 defeat in the cross-border derby in Tallaght.

Alfie Wylie's side were already out of the World Cup qualifying reckoning before kick-off and, with just one Group 3 fixture remaining, must avoid defeat in Tuesday's encounter with Slovakia to stay off the bottom of the table.

Having shipped 15 goals in their three previous outings, Northern Ireland's hopes of improving upon the group's worst defensive record got off to an ominous start when the Republic pulled ahead after just four minutes.

Three down by half-time, Wylie's girls proved a tougher nut to crack after the interval but shipped one further goal while being unable to register at the other end.

The breakthrough came when Diane Caldwell's lofted pass from her own half released West Ham United's Leanne Kiernan, who lobbed Jacqueline Burns.

Once home keeper Amanda Budden passed her only test of the evening by gathering a cross she initially flapped at, the Republic were in command.

Kiernan's pace once again saw her get in behind the defence on 12 minutes and her cut-back set up Tyler Toland's 20-yard shot. Burns did well to reach it but her spill fell to Rianna Jarrett, who laid the ball back for Katie McCabe to find the top corner.

After having a volley ruled out for offside soon after, Kiernan bagged her second on 27 minutes.

When Denise O'Sullivan's surging run from midfield drew the Northern Irish centre-backs out of position, she slipped the ball into space for Kiernan to burst clear and beat Burns.

The second half was equally one-sided, but McCabe's penalty on 58 minutes, stroked down the middle after Harriet Scott was bundled over by Burns, was all they had to show for their dominance.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Budden, Payne, Caldwell, Fahey, Quinn, Scott, O'Sullivan, Toland (Duggan, 61 mins), McCabe, Kiernan (Barrett, 88 mins), Jarrett (Ziu, 77 mins).

NORTHERN IRELAND: Burns, Simpson, Rafferty, Nelson, Foy, Milligan, McFadden (Holdaway, 74 mins), Callaghan, Wade (McKenna, 72 mins); Montgomery (Bell, 62 mins), Magill.

Referee: Angelika Soeder (Germany)

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