Republic of Ireland 0 Italy 1
Noel King's Irish Women's U17 side were narrowly defeated by Italy in a tight contest in Whitehall on Thursday night. The match which was the first of a double international friendly against the Italians will be seen as an ideal preparatory tool for the upcoming UEFA Championship qualifiers in Slovenia next month.
Italy took the lead against the run of play in the 17th minute when the Italians were awarded a free-kick on the right wing which was whipped into the Irish box and the Italian captain, Lisa Alborghetti rose highest and powerfully headed the ball past Eilish McManus in Ireland's goal, giving her no chance.
Italy could have been two up after 30 minutes when Marta Mason run through the heart of the Irish defence but McManus was out off her line early and she stood up to the imposing striker, deflecting her shot over the bar for a corner. Two minutes later, Mason was again causing problems for the Irish defence and when she took a snap-shot on a loose ball just outside the area but McManus was on-hand yet again to put the ball out for a corner.
Despite not creating a clear goal-scoring opportunity, Ireland went into the break a goal down but they enjoyed large periods of sustained pressure in the Italian half, captain Dora Gorman, Lois Roche, Stacey Donnelly and Niamh McLaughlin were pivotal in the Irish attack while the central defence pairing of Boyd and Gleeson were composed when facing an ever-dangerous, three Italian strikers.
In a closely fought second half battle, Irish manager, Noel King made a number of changes to great effect but while his charges were more than a match for their Italian counterparts, they were unable to score the elusive equaliser.
In the first minute of injury time in the second half, referee Rhona Daly gave Ireland a lifeline when she awarded a penalty to the home side but substitute Megan Campbell was unable to capitalise as her spot-kick was saved and the rebound was put wide much to the dismay of the young Irish side.
The two teams meet again on Saturday at the Oscar Traynor Centre, Oscar Traynor Road, and manager Noel King will be accessing his players before the UEFA Championship, first qualifying phase which will be held in Slovenia from October 10 and 15. The Irish will face Denmark, Slovenia and Turkey. Of the ten qualifying groups, only the group winners and six best runners-up will qualify for the elite qualifying phase.
Double International friendly fixtures
Thursday, September 10th 2009
Republic of Ireland 0-1 Italy
Home Farm FC, Whitehall
Saturday, September 12th 2009
Republic of Ireland v Italy
Oscar Traynor Centre, Oscar Traynor Rd
UEFA Women's U17 first qualifying phase
Republic of Ireland
10th-15th October in Slovenia
Republic of Ireland: Eilish McManus, Avril Kilkelly, Kerry Glynn, Zoe Boyd, Jessica Gleeson, Siobhan Killeen, Aileen Gilroy, Lois Roche, Dora Gorman (C), Stacey Donnelly, Niamh McLaughlin
Substitutes: Emer Cassidy (GK), Denise O'Sullivan, Megan Campbell, Erica Cahill, Nicole Owens, Ciara O'Brien, Rianna Jarrett, Laura Gormley, Rebecca Kearney