Spain 2 Republic of Ireland 1
THE Republic of Ireland U17 Women's team suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss to favourites Spain in their opening game of the UEFA WU17 Championships in Buftea, Romania today.
All three goals were scored in the opening half and although Dave Connell's side came back from 2-0 down to pull one back through Jenny Clifford, they could not forge an equaliser after the break.
"The conditions were atrocious although the pitch held up well. There was a strong gale blowing and that really impacted on the game," said Connell.
Spain took the lead in fortunate circumstances in the 18th minute when a corner taken by Andrea Sanchez skidded up off the slick surface and went straight into the Irish net.
The second Spanish goal in the 33rd minute was contentious as a shot by Mireya García Boa was saved by keeper Brooke Dunne and the Irish were convinced Maria del Pilar looked offside as she tapped home the loose ball.
Ireland's response was immediate with Megan Connolly sending Jenny Clifford through on goal just 60 seconds later and Clifford fired to the roof of the net from the edge of the box.
"It was a tight enough game after the goals and could have snuck an equaliser but it was a fantastic performance against one of the top sides in the competition," added Connell.
"We're very pleased with the performance but disappointed with the manner of the goals conceded. I can't fault the effort and maybe if the conditions weren't so bad it would have helped us get it down and play a bit more."
In the other group game Iceland beat Romania 2-1. Ireland meet the Icelandic side on Wednesday afternoon.
"We have a game plan for both Iceland and Romania in our remaining games so it is important that we get three points on Wednesday and see how it goes," said Connell.
SPAIN: Yaiza Pérez, Nuria Garrote, Beatriz Beltran, Rocío Galvez, Maria del Pilar, Mireya García Boa, Patricia Guijarro, Andrea Sánchez, Carmen Menayo Queralt Gómez, Laura Domínguez (Laura María Pérez 77).
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Brooke Dunne, Jessica Gargan, Courtney Higgins, Hayley Nolan, Savannah McCarthy (C), Roma McLaughlin, Keeva Keenan, Jenny Clifford, Megan Connolly, Evelyn Daly, Sarah McKevitt (Eleanor Ryan-Doyle 66).
Monday, September 30
Spain 2 Republic of Ireland 1, Football Centre FRF, Buftea (ROU).
Wednesday, October 2
Republic of Ireland v Iceland, Football Centre FRF, Buftea (ROU) (3.00pm Irish).
Saturday, October 5
Romania v Republic of Ireland, Football Centre FRF, Mogosoaia (ROU) (9.00am Irish).