Ireland Secure Emphatic Qualifying Win

The lead came as early as the third minute when a short corner routine culminated with Julie-Ann Russell’s cross to the back post being headed home by Louise Quinn.

Ireland pressed hard for a second but it was Montenegro who had the next guilt edged opportunity as Armisa Kuc found space in the penalty area, only to be thwarted by the onrushing Emma Byrne.

Ireland continued to hold the lion’s share of possesion and doubled their lead in the 24th minute as Julie-Ann Russell once again whipped a dangerous cross into the area, this time finding Katie McCabe. McCabe touched it down for Aine O’Gorman to finish into the bottom left corner of the net.

Just sixty seconds later Ireland were 3-0 ahead. O’Gorman raced into the box only to be taken down by Montenegro captain Sladjana Bulatovic. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot where Ruesha Littlejohn scored her second penalty in succesive games, finishing low to the ‘keepers right.

Ten minutes into the second half, Meabh De Burca found space in the channel and hit an inviting ball into the Montenegro area that Fiona O’Sullivan was inches away from connecting with.

Ireland went close once more as Sophie Perry got on the end of a through ball but was denied by a fantastic save from Jovana Bajetic in the Montenegro goal. Two second half substitutes teamed up for the next chance as Stephanie Roche fired just over after a good one-two with Denise O’Sullivan.

The fourth goal finally came and it was worth the wait. Denise O’Sullivan jinked in the box, wrong footing the defender, before lashing a fierce right footed strike into the far corner. A simply stunning strike.

Ireland weren’t finished there as in the 85th minute, Julie-Ann Russell, who was a threat throughout, got to the endline before finding Stephanie Roche who headed home from six yards.

A record-equaliing win for Ireland who head to Madrid next Tuesday for a clash with table toppers Spain with a spring in their step.

Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne (c), Sophie Perry, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey, Karen Duggan, Diane Caldwell, Aine O’Gorman, Ruesha Littlejohn, Julie-Ann Russell, Katie McCabe, Meabh De Burca.

Subs: Stephanie Roche for Katie McCabe HT. Fiona O’Sullivan for Aine O’Gorman 62mins. Denise O’Sullivan for Diane Caldwell 72 mins.

Source / photo – www.fai.ie

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