A late equaliser from Milford’s Amber Barrett gave the Republic of Ireland Women’s U19s a deserved draw in the first game of their double-header against Portugal this evening at the Dr Jorge Sampaio Municipal Stadium in Pedroso just outside Porto.
Republic of Ireland 1
The Lagan Harps striker showed tremendous awareness in the 85th minute to quickly close down the Portuguese goalkeeper Tatiana Beleza as she tried to deal with an underhit backpass and, after successfully blocking her clearance, Barrett rolled the ball into the empty net.
The Irish could have snatched victory after that when Aisling Frawley sent a snap shot inches wide and Michelle O’Regan drilled a volley inches over the crossbar.
Dave Connell’s side had fallen behind just before half-time when, after some good defensive blocking, the ball fell kindly for Portuguese striker Diana Silva and her mishit shot looped over Irish goalkeeper Jill Maloney.
With temperatures still in the 30s when the game kicked off at 8pm local time the Irish struggled in a scrappy first half and needed Maloney to make good stops from Norton and Silva. But, they were much stronger in the second period and could have equalised long before Barrett’s goal with Sarah Rowe, in particular, unlucky not to score with one excellent effort well saved by Beleza while another flashed across the front of goal.
“It was a good performance, especially in the second half, and I’m very pleased with how the girls dealt with the condition and very good Portuguese team. We showed a lot of character in the second half and I thought we were probably unlucky not have won it in the end,” said Connell afterwards.
Ireland will play Portugal again on Thursday at 11am local time in the Canelas Stadium in Porto.
Republic of Ireland Women’s U19s: Jill Maloney (University of Georgia Bulldogs); Ciara McNamara (Hollyhill Celtic), Shauna Newman (Raheny United), Shannon Carson (Hollyhill Celtic), Jessica Corr (Peamount United); Lisa Casserly (Galway WFC), Clare Shine (Raheny United), Amy O’Connor (Wilton United); Sarah Rowe (Castlebar Celtic), Sarah McGeough (Castlebar Celtic), Gemma McGuinness (Greencastle). Subs: Aisling Frawley (Wexford Youths Women’s AFC) for McGuinness (32),
Lauren Dwyer (Wexford Youths Women’s AFC) for O’Connor (46), Rachel Doyle (DLR Waves) for McNamara (46), Rebekah Carroll (Peamount United) for Corr (46), Amber Barrett (Lagan Harps) for McGeough (52), Michelle O’Regan (College Corinthians) for Carson (65). Unused subs: Chelsea Noonan (Douglas Hall), Chloe Mustaki (Peamount United), Emily Cahill (Peamount United), Ciara Rossiter (Wexford Youths Women’s AFC), Katie McCabe (Raheny United).