Northern Ireland’s Women’s Under-19s were narrowly defeated 2-0 by Republic of Ireland in a Women’s U19 Euro 2022 qualifier this afternoon.
In their third and final game in Group A5 of the qualifiers they worked hard against the tournament hosts at Market’s Field in Limerick.
After losing to Switzerland and England in their previous two matches in the four-team mini tournament, they were determined to give their all against the Republic.
However, the Republic had the edge throughout the match and goals in either half were enough to give them the win.
Northern Ireland were down to 10 players for the latter part of the game after defender Jane McMaster was red-carded for a strong challenge.
The first chance of the encounter fell to Republic midfielder Ellen Molloy but she screwed her shot wide.
Northern Ireland keeper Lilie Woods got down well to keep out a Shauna Brennan strike and Molloy had another couple of efforts blocked.
Republic defender Jessie Stapleton forced another good save out of Woods and shot wide prior to the hosts taking the lead on 34 minutes. Reynolds fed Molloy and she applied the finishing touch.
Towards the end of the half Aoife Horgan fired wide and striker Rebecca Watkins had a shot blocked before Northern Ireland striker Cora Chambers steered an effort wide.
After the break the Republic continued to push forward. Stapleton and Molloy both had chances before Northern Ireland captain Fi Morgan conceded a penalty for fouling Molloy inside the area. The spot kick was duly slotted home by Stapleton to make it 2-0 in the 63rd minute.
Two minutes later Tierna Bell drove an effort wide as Northern Ireland tried to respond.
But then, in the 66th minute, McMaster chopped down Republic substitute Jenna Slattery and she was given her marching orders.
After that the Republic went for the jugular. Molloy fired a free-kick wide, Woods saved from Slattery and then Slattery scooped an effort wide before the Northern Ireland keeper stopped another effort from her.
In the closing stages another Republic sub, Eva Mangan, stroked a shot wide of the mark.
The final action of the game saw Woods make yet another save from the lively Slattery.
Northern Ireland WU19s: Lilie Woods, Ella Haughey, Fi Morgan (captain), Shona Davis, Jane McMaster, Abbie McHenry, Tierna Bell, Grace McKimm, Kathryn Dickson, Cora Chambers, Darcy Boyle. Substitutes: (used) Cara Mervyn, Mia Little, Helen Parker, Ellie-Mae Dickson, Eve Reilly; (unused) Rachael Norney (GK), Zoe Rodgers, Erin McGreevy, Erin Montgomery.
Republic WU19s: Rugile Auskalnyte, Therese Kinnevey, Shauna Brennan, Jessie Stapleton, Della Doherty (captain), Teegan Lynch, Maria Reynolds, Ellen Molloy, Muireann Devaney, Aoife Horgan, Rebecca Watkins. Substitutes: Savanna Duffy (GK), Kate Slevin, Kerryanne Brown, Jenna Slattery, Erin McLaughlin, Emma Bucci, Nicole McNamara, Eva Mangan, Melissa O’Kane.