Republic of Ireland 0 Denmark 1
THE Republic of Ireland Women lost their first game of 2021 as they were beaten 1-0 by Denmark in a friendly at Tallaght Stadium on Thursday evening.
Despite the best efforts of Cork’s Denise O’Sullivan and Megan Connolly, who won their 81st and 26th senior cap respectively, Nicoline Sorensen’s early finish was enough to separate the sides as Ireland’s attention now turns to their friendly against Belgium on Sunday.
This was the first international friendly during Vera Pauw’s reign and it presented a tough challenge as the Danes currently sitting 14th in the FIFA World Rankings while the Irish lie joint 31st.
They played well throughout but crucially they fell behind in the ninth minute as Sofie Svava’s cross from the left fell kindly to Nicoline Sorensen and after a good first touch at the back post, the Everton striker squeezed her shot under goalkeeper Grace Moloney.
Denise O’Sullivan soon showcased her quality on the quarter of an hour mark but Amber Barrett just couldn’t reach her exquisite through ball before Denmark’s number one Lene Christensen gathered it right on the edge of her penalty area.
Ireland’s best sight at goal came midway through the first half but Heather Payne’s clever lob from a tight angle sailed over the head of the keeper and just over the bar.
Their opponents looked the more likely to score before the break with Moloney doing well to deny Signe Bruun’s fierce hit on the turn from close range.
Shelbourne’s Emily Whelan, who scored against Cork City at Turner’s Cross recently, was introduced during the interval and flashed an effort just over shortly after the restart.
Captain Katie McCabe was desperately unlucky not to level on 53 but seconds after the Arsenal playmaker spread the play with a sensational long pass, she thundered a shot from forty-plus yards against the underside of the bar.
Connolly was forced to withdraw with an injury just past the hour before McCabe’s free whistled wide of the far bottom left corner.
Denmark’s Pernille Harder, who joined Chelsea for a world-record fee for a female footballer last September, was kept quiet all night but she almost added a second late on but twice sliced wide of the target.
Irish defender Louise Quinn was thrown forward in injury time and she almost created the equaliser but Whelan could only drill her flick-on into the side netting.
Grace Moloney, Keeva Keenan, Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Diane Caldwell, Katie McCabe, Jamie Finn, Megan Connolly, Denise O’Sullivan, Heather Payne, Amber Barrett.
Emily Whelan for Heather Payne (h-t), Rianna Jarrett for Amber Barrett (61), Ellen Molloy for Megan Connolly (61), Aine O’Gorman for Keeva Keenan (72).
Lene Christensen, Rikke Sevecke, Simone Boye, Sanne Troelsgaard, Nadia Naim, Pernille Harder, Katrine Veje, Sofie Junge, Nicoline Sorensen, Signe Bruun, Sofie Svava.
Emma Snerle (h-t), Frederikke Thogersen (61), Caroline Moller (72), Olivia Moller Holdt (72), Stine Larsen (81).
Louise Thompson (Northern Ireland).