Statto: First cap for Aine O Gorman and Diana Caldwell
Denmark 4 - 0 Republic of Ireland
The youthful Republic of Ireland women's team were given a harsh lesson in the Algarve Cup by a superior Denmark, who justified their ranking of 8th in the World with a sparkling performance.
Ireland contained the Danes for 20 minutes but Denmark lifted their game to new heights once they scored the opening goal. They were operating on a different level to Ireland afterwards and ran out convincing winners.
Ireland's manager Noel King paid tribute to the Irish players for their spirited resistance to the final whistle but he conceded the Danes were far superior.
"This was an important learning process for our team" he said, "we came to this tournament with the ambition of getting out of our group and playing one of the top teams and that is what we achieved."
King chose to give the younger members of the squad an experience of football at this level in the second half. He introduced two new internationals in Diane Caldwell and Aine O'Gorman, two sixteen year olds from Raheny United and Stella Maris.
He said: "This was a big step up in quality for our players and Denmark were very good. They are ranked 8th in the World after all.
"We played OK and for twenty minutes we were comfortable. But once they scored they stepped things up again and we didn't help our cause by giving away a very sloppy third goal.
"We had chances ourselves, maybe five or six, and we didn't take them but we have come a long way in a relatively short time and this team is a work in progress.
"If we are to progress we must play more of these games against the top teams and the players were given a good insight into what they must aspire to. They know they have to keep on working and learning if they want to succeed."
Ireland beat Portugal 1-0 and drew in a scoreless game with Mexico before losing to Denmark in the Algarve Cup and the week's work was important as they are preparing for upcoming matches in the World Cup.
Ireland return home on Thursday and then fly out on March 23rd to play Switzerland in the World Cup and King said: "This is what our week's work in the Algarve was all about... getting proper preparation for the World Cup. From that point of view this has been a complete success."
The Irish team that started against Denmark was: Sarah Peters (Lady Hibernian Saints); Marie Curtin (Hofstra University), Dolores Deasley (Bristol Academy), Yvonne Tracy (Arsenal), Alisha Moran (Harvard University), Sonia Hughes (New Hampshire Phantoms/Franklin Pierce), Ciara Grant (Arsenal), Denise Thomas (Boston Renegades), Elaine O'Connor (Long Island Lady Riders), Laura Hislop (New Hampshire Phantoms/Franklin Pierce), Michelle O'Brien (Lady Island Lady Riders).
The subs who were introduced were:Diane Caldwell (Raheny United), Aine O'Gorman (Stella Maris), Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Olivia O'Toole (Shamrock Rovers), ), Claire Scanlon (Bristol Academy) and Edel Malone (Hofstra University).