17.09.2011 at 18:00 Newport
Referee: M. Mamaeva (RUS)
Ciara Mary Grant
Fiona O Sullivan
Denise O Sullivan
Wales 0-2 Republic of Ireland
Statto: Denise O Sullivan scores two on her debut
The Republic of Ireland women's senior side began their UEFA EURO 2013 campaign with a hard fought 2-0 victory over Wales in Newport on Saturday.
Heroine of the FIFA U17 World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago last year, Denise O'Sullivan will grab all of the headlines as she marked her senior debut with two well taken goals but in truth, Ireland's defence and goalkeeper, Emma Byrne will have to take a lot of the credit for keeping a strong Wales outfit scoreless for 90 minutes.
Wilton striker O'Sullivan grabbed the opening goal in the 27th minute when she showed great anticipation and patience in the Welsh box as she capitalised on some slack defending to nip in between two defenders, showing great composure to slot it under Welsh 'keeper Nokes for a deserved lead.
Wales responded strongly and Jessica Fishlock from Bristol Academy should have equalised in the 35th minute when Gwennan Harries made a darting run down the right wing and her cross was met by Fishlock who headed wide from 6 yards.
A minute later, Wales midfielder Helen Bleazard showed a quick turn of pace as she made a clever run down the left, cutting into the centre but her effort went just over Emma Byrne's goal. Irish midfielder, Shannon Smith almost doubled the score just before half-time when a half-clearance found its way to Smith on the right but her powerful effort was brilliantly held by Nokes in the Welsh goal.
Ireland weathered a period of sustained pressure from the Welsh attack in the opening moments of the second half with central defenders, Louise Quinn and Yvonne Treacy forming a formidable partnership in defence to keep Wales at bay.
Fiona O'Sullivan came close to scoring in the 64th minute when Shannon Smith collected a Niamh Fahey pass on the right wing and her pin-point cross into the box found Fiona O'Sullivan who controlled, swiveled past her marker but Nokes stood firm and palmed the shot out for a corner.
Denise O'Sullivan capped her dream debut in the 70th with a finish that was fitting to the occassion. As Julie-Ann Russell and Fiona O'Sullivan combined inside the Welsh box, Nokes was on-hand to clear the ball as far as the Wilton striker who lifted the ball over the defence and the goalkeeper from 25 yards as it nestled into the back of the net.
Wales missed a glorious chance to get back into the game in the dying moments when Cardiff City defender, Sophie Ingle swung in a cross from the left-wing into Chelsea's Helen Lander who headed straight at Emma Byrne from 6 yards, much to the relief of the Irish defence.
With three points on the board for the opening game of the UEFA EURO 2013 campaign, Ireland must now focus on what will be one of their toughest tests in this campaign when they host FIFA World Cup semi-finalists, France in Turners Cross, Cork on Thursday September 22nd.
Wales: Nokes, Dykes, Ingle, Kylie Davies, Ludlow, Daley, Bleazard, Green, Lander, Harries, Fishlock.
Substitutes: Nicola Davies, Wade, Lea, Manley, Nia Jones, Harding, Foster.
Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne, Grace Murray, Diane Caldwell, Niamh Fahey, Yvonne Treacy, Louise Quinn, Ciara Grant, Denise O'Sullivan, Fiona O'Sullivan, Shannon Smyth, Stephenie Roche.
Substitutes: Megan Campbell (on for Grace Murray, 55 mins) , Julie-Ann Russell (on for Roche, 66 mins), Shannon McDonnell, Meabh De Burca, Eva Badana, Marie Curtin (on for Smyth, 78mins), Mary Waldron.
REFEREE: M. Mamaeva (RUS)