| 8.7°C Belfast

Ireland have allowed major chance to slip away, admits coach Sean Dancer

Close

Tough one: Ireland’s Hannah Matthews is dejected at the end of the game. Photo: INPHO/Frank Uijlenbroek

Tough one: Ireland’s Hannah Matthews is dejected at the end of the game. Photo: INPHO/Frank Uijlenbroek

©INPHO/Frank Uijlenbroek

Ireland captain Katie Mullan. Credit: INPHO/Frank Uijlenbroek

Ireland captain Katie Mullan. Credit: INPHO/Frank Uijlenbroek

©INPHO/Frank Uijlenbroek

/

Tough one: Ireland’s Hannah Matthews is dejected at the end of the game. Photo: INPHO/Frank Uijlenbroek

If Ireland are to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup, they will have to do it the hard way after missing out at the first time of asking following a disappointing 1-1 draw with Spain at the European Championship in Amsterdam yesterday.

Ireland went into the game needing nothing short of victory to seal a semi-final berth at the tournament and with it a coveted place at the global showpiece.

As it turned out, it was Spain who got the result they required to pip Sean Dancer’s team by virtue of a superior goals for column after the teams had been tied on goal difference. 

Now Ireland must come out on top of the play-offs for places five to eight at the Euros if they are to book their tickets to the next World Cup.

They will be up against England or Belgium tomorrow and Italy on Saturday and if they fail to finish fifth overall, they would have to rely on a further series of play-offs later this year in what would be a final chance to progress.

Ireland looked out-of-sorts yesterday despite taking an early lead through Roisin Upton and they failed to carve out too many chances thereafter.

Indeed, had it not been for goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran’s heroics, they could have lost the game as Spain constantly denied them space and too many passes went astray in the middle third of the pitch.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Ireland head coach Dancer said: “It’s obviously a very disappointing result for us.

"It was certainly a game we were hoping to do really well in.

“The way the game unfolded at the start meant we were in a really good position to try and get the result out of it and that semi-final place.” 

Irish goalscorer Upton added: “I think after we scored in the first half, we just put ourselves under too much pressure and we needed to manage that phase of the game better.

“We responded well in the next three quarters but we just weren’t clinical enough. It’s just about hanging onto the ball more.  

“We’ll debrief now, but we have still two games to play, so we can’t be disappointed for too long.”

Upton got Ireland off to a dream start when she banged home a second-minute penalty corner, set up by Naomi Carroll.

But it took Spain just 10 minutes to get back on level terms, Begoña Garcia firing home from close range after being left unmarked from her team’s first set-piece.

Chances were at a premium thereafter for both sides before Irish keeper McFerran dived full-length to deny Lola Reira in the 41st minute from a corner.

With 12 minutes left, Maria Lopez’s penalty corner crashed off the post and Ireland countered swiftly to win one of their own shortly afterwards but Shirley McCay’s effort was comfortably saved and that was that.  

Ireland: A McFerran, R Upton, N Evans, K Mullan, S McCay, L Tice, N Carroll, H McLoughlin, L Holden, S Hawkshaw, A O’Flanagan; subs: M Carey, M Frazer, C Watkins, N Daly, H Matthews, D Duke, L Murphy


Top Videos



Privacy