Rep. Ireland senior women are currently in preparation for their upcoming 2019 World Cup qualifying contests both home and away against top seeds Norway. The sides first meet at Tallaght Stadium this Friday afternoon with a 5.30pm kick-off and again on Tuesday afternoon in Stavanger at 5pm. Head Coach Colin Bell has named a twenty two player squad which sees the return of Wexford WFC striker Rianna Jarrett who suffered her third ACL injury on her last appearance in March 2016.
Cork City returned to the summit of the Airtricity League Premier Division when they defeated fourth place Derry City by four goals to two in Turner’s Cross this Bank Holiday Monday afternoon in the re-arranged fixture postponed earlier this season in March. A sixth minute goal from Karl Sheppard set the ‘Leesiders’ on their way and when the same player extended the lead in the first minute of the second half all seemed done and dusted but the ‘Candystripes’ responded and scored two goals in quick succession to level matters. Their hopes were quickly shattered as Kieran Sadlier restored the hosts lead and Graham Cummins consolidated the situation with the fourth goal on eighty two minutes.
Eighty ninth minute substitute Alan Judge secured a two one victory for Ireland over the USA with the winning goal in just a little over a minute of his arrival on the Aviva Stadium pitch this Saturday evening. The match marked the final chapter in the international career of the retiring John O’Shea who captained Ireland on his 118th appearance. The Waterford man played the opening thirty four minutes of the contest before his withdrawal to a hugely merited standing ovation.
Despite dominating much of the opening half, Ireland conceded the opening goal seconds before the half-time break, with another sloppy piece of defending of a corner kick. Shamrock Rovers striker Graham Burke equalised on fifty six minutes, adding a finishing touch to debutant substitute Daragh Lenihan’s seemingly goal bound shot. There was also an international debut for Enda Stevens who was introduced to the fray on seventy eight minutes.
Starting eleven:- C Doyle; S Duffy, J O’Shea (C), K Long; S Coleman, D Rice, J Hendrick, C O’Dowda, J McClean; J Walters, G Burke
The Ireland squad, Friday morning, held their final training session prior to Saturday evening’s friendly international against the USA. A knee injury kept Shane Long sidelined and he is not expected to be available tomorrow evening, increasing the liklihood of Graham Burke being handed a starting role.
Jeff Hendrick returned to training with the Ireland squad on Thursday morning where he was joined by Shamrock Rovers striker Graham Burke who will miss the ‘Hoops’ Airtricity League contest with Dundalk on Friday evening. Harry Arter and Derrick Williams sat out this morning’s session with thigh and groin injuries respectively. John O’Shea is expected to captain Ireland against the USA as he retires from international football having earned 118 caps.
All ten Airtricity League Premier Division sides were again in action on Friday evening with the Turner’s Cross meeting of second place Cork City and third place Waterford, which the hosts won by three goals to nil, topping the bill. Current leaders Dundalk travelled to face Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium and secured an emphatic five two victory. Fourth place Derry City went down to a two nil home defeat by visitors Sligo Rovers in the Brandywell. Limerick and Bohemian played out a one all draw at the Markets Field while bottom side Bray Wanderers defeated St Patrick’s Athletic by three goals to one in the Carlisle Grounds.
World Cup Finals bound France eased to a comfortable two nil victory over Ireland in Paris this Monday evening. The match possession statistics of 76% to 24% and the shot ratio of 18-5 tell their own story with Ireland’s only shot on target coming in added time from late substitute debutant Shaun Williams. Defender Derrick Williams made his senior debut from the start while striker Graham Burke was the third debutant when introduced on seventy minutes. Ireland were on the back foot from the outset but held firm untill the fortieth minute when Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud stabbed home. A blunder from goalkeeper Colin Doyle saw Lyon midfielder Nabil Fekir, who is linked with Liverpool. score the second three minutes later to effectively end the contest. Teenage midfielder Kylian Mbappe, on loan at Paris St Germain from Monaco, was another to really catch the eye.
Starting Eleven: C Doyle; S Coleman (C), K Long, S Duffy, D Williams; C O’Dowda, A Browne, D Rice, J McClean; J Walters, S Long