REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 1 ITALY 1
An outstanding individual goal well into injury time by Katie McCabe rescued a deserved point for the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team against pre tournament favourites Italy at the Cyprus Cup in Larnaca yesterday. Not only was the goal special for her team, it was the Kilnamanagh star’s first at senior level for her country and one she will remember forever. Once again when an Irish football team needed saving it was someone from Tallaght who did the business!
— FAI (@FAIreland) March 4, 2016
Ireland had looked to be heading for their second defeat of the tournament when Italy took the lead in the 86th minute when Marta Carissimi finished from close range after Ireland keeper Niamh Reid Burke had saved brilliantly from a powerful header by Luisa Pugnali.
It looked to have been a cruel way for the Irish team to finish the game after they had matched the Azzuri for the previous 85 minutes. Luck in front of goal had alluded the Girls in Green as Aine O’Gorman came close to opening the scoring in the early exchanges before Julie Ann Russell was equally unlucky with two chances in the second half.
Then came a strange decision from the officials in the 54th minute when Ireland controversially had a goal disallowed. Aine O Gorman got on the end of a cross from Sophie Perry to smash the ball home only for the flag to go up for offside. Replays suggest the official may have got the decision wrong.
Katie McCabe has now joined that very rare and exclusive club of players who have scored at every level for their country, a wonderful achievement for her starting out on her new career with English giants Arsenal. She is an exceptional talent and someone who is going to be a very important key player for the Ireland team in the years ahead.
After the game Ireland manager Sue Ronan said Ireland had deserved to get their draw.
“It was another great performance by the team and we fully deserved to get something from the game. We should have been ahead before Italy scored as we had created the better chances, so I’m very pleased with the character and determination the players showed to get the equaliser after conceding so late,” said Ronan.
“We have worked extremely hard this week yet haven’t always got the rub of the green in our games, having a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside in both matches. But taking a point from Italy, who are favourites for this tournament and ranked 19 places above us in the world rankings, will give us lot of confidence going forward.”
“The equaliser was a great individual effort from Katie McCabe, something we’ve seen from her at underage level over the past few years. It’s her first international goal at senior level but I think it will be the first of many as she’s an outstanding talent.”
Ireland now meet Hungary on Monday in Paralimni in their final Group A game. The Hungarians, who lost 2-0 to Italy in their opening game, were beaten 2-1 again yesterday by Austria.
Check out Katie and Ireland Goalkeeper Niamh talking after the game.
— FAI (@FAIreland) March 5, 2016
Republic of Ireland: Niamh Reid-Burke (Shelbourne), Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United), Niamh Fahey (Chelsea), Savannah McCarthy (Glasgow City); Diane Caldwell (Kóln), Karen Duggan (UCD Waves), Ruesha Littlejohn (Glasgow City); Julie-Ann Russell (UCD Waves), Megan Connolly (Florida State University), Aine O’Gorman (UCD Waves). Used Subs: Meabh De Burca (Galway) for McCarthy (46), Denise O’Sullivan (Glasgow City) for Duggan (46), Rianna Jarrett (Wexford Youths) for Connolly (65), Katie McCabe (Arsenal) for Jarrett (74). Unused Subs: Grace Moloney (Reading), Jessica Gleeson (Wexford Youths), Megan Campbell (Manchester City), Clare Shine (Glasgow City), Emma Hansberry (Wexford Youths), Rachel Graham (Shelbourne), Claire O’Riordan (Wexford Youths).