Republic of Ireland 1-0 Poland
The Republic of Ireland senior Women’s team rounded off their group phase of the Algarve tournament today with a fully deserved win over Poland in Faro.
Irish captain Ciara Grant bagged the only goal of the game, which arrived on 35 minutes, when she beat the Polish goalkeeper with a well-placed shot driven home from the just outside of the penalty area.
Hopes were high within the Irish camp of bringing to an end their run of three successive defeats. Italy put a dampener on their hopes of grabbing second place in the UEFA qualifying group with victory in Sardinia last month and both Portugal and Iceland inflicted defeats on Noel King’s side in this friendly tournament.
Ireland began well enough, with Olivia O’Toole and Michelle O’Brien combining superbly in attack.
Both of those strikers had chances to break the deadlock but Grant showed them the way by planting her shot into the net ten minutes before half-time.
O’Toole's most inspiring moment came when she embarked on a mazy 35-yard run which finished with the Raheny United player chipping the advancing the goalkeeper but the ball cleared the crossbar and landed on top of the net.
Poland did give Ireland a scare by clipping the post with a shot but the Irish held on for the win.
Ireland manager Noel King was glad to see the team rediscover the winning habit.
“It was important to get a victory insofar as it broke the run of three bad results for us,” he said.
“We played better in the first half than the second and had opportunities to extend our lead.
“Overall, I was pleased with how the team responded today considering the couple of hiccups we encountered against Portugal and Iceland in the last few days."
He added: “This week’s exercise is all about trying out new tactics and blooding new players.
“Grace Murray started her first game for us today and Lynn-Marie Grant came on as a substitute. That is encouraging because both of them are current Under-19 International players.”
The set of circumstances working out the play-off fixtures for final positions in the Algarve tournament has pitted Ireland against Poland again on Wednesday morning (10am).
IRELAND: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Marie Curtin (Hofstra University), Yvonne Tracy (Arsenal), Niamh Fahey (Salthill Devon), Maeve DeBurca (Salthill Devon), Ciara Grant (Arsenal), Sonya Hughes (Tolka Rovers), Grace Murray (Dundalk City FC), Edel Malone (Hofstra University), Olivia O Toole (Raheny United), Michele O Brien (Watford Ladies)
Substitutions: Lynn-Marie Grant (Lifford) for Malone (65 mins), Aine O Gorman (Stella Maris) and Stefanie Curtis (Bristol Academy) for Murray and Malone (both 70 mins).