The Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-17s featuring Carlow’s Aoife Kelly lost to Switzerland 3-1 in the first of two friendly matches in Spain on Tuesday
As the team prepares for Round 2 of the UEFA European Championship Qualifiers at the end of March, manager James Scott described these games as extremely important.
The team was led out by captain Orlaith O’ Mahony on a warm and windy afternoon. It was an even start for both sides, with Ireland playing out calmly from the back, implementing their structure from the beginning.
A very even start saw Ireland come close to taking the lead when Lia O’Leary hit the left-hand side of the goal in the 6th minute. In the 15th minute of the first half, Switzerland broke the deadlock with an Eriona Portier goal.
At halftime, Switzerland led the contest, so the Girls in Green took the opportunity to regroup for the second half. A free kick was awarded to Michaela Lawrence in a good position in the 54th minute. In the 91st minute, O’Mahony guided the ball towards the goal, where it hit the inside of the post and went into the back of the Swiss net.
After the break, Switzerland began to dominate the game, but Ireland’s attack didn’t let up. Scott’s team played excellent through balls, using the full-backs and wingers to open up space. Joy Ralph and Katie McCairn added fresh legs to the front, but Ireland couldn’t find a way past the Swiss goalkeeper.
In the 76th minute, Switzerland scored another goal, and the momentum continued as they scored their third in the 85th minute.
Even though the Swiss were in the middle of their season and the Girls in Green were in early pre-season, there were many positives to take from the game.
The Republic of Ireland will seek revenge when they play the second match of their double-header friendly on Thursday at 14:30 Irish time.
Republic of Ireland: Summer Lawless, Tara O’Hanlon (Jodie Loughrey 76), Eve Dossen, Aoife Kelly, Keri Loughrey (Katie McCairn 65), Orlaith O’Mahony, Michaela Lawrence (Sophie Morrin 76), Lia O’Leary, Heidi Macken, Meabh Russell, Heidi O’Sullivan (Joy Ralph 65).