Éabha O'Mahony, Denise O'Sullivan and Megan Connolly feature for Ireland

Three Cork players were involved in the 3-2 loss to Iceland
Éabha O'Mahony, Denise O'Sullivan and Megan Connolly feature for Ireland

Republic of Ireland’s Megan Connolly on the ball against Iceland. Picture:  INPHO/Eggert Jóhannesson

Iceland 3 Republic of Ireland 2

CORK City’s Éabha O’Mahony won her second Republic of Ireland women’s senior international cap but she couldn’t prevent her country from falling to a 3-2 friendly defeat to Iceland at their national stadium in Reykjavík on Friday evening.

O’Mahony was introduced at half-time with Ireland trailing 3-0 but she played her part in an improved second-half performance although it would ultimately end in defeat.

Cork natives Megan Connolly and Denise O’Sullivan retained their usual starting berth in Vera Pauw’s starting 11 while O’Mahony began on the bench.

Republic of Ireland’s Denise O’Sullivan takes on Iceland. Picture: INPHO/Eggert Jóhannesson
Republic of Ireland’s Denise O’Sullivan takes on Iceland. Picture: INPHO/Eggert Jóhannesson

Despite it being a friendly, the Ireland manager was only allowed to name 23 players from her overall selection of 25 in her matchday squad, with Rianna Jarrett and Leesider Saoirse Noonan the two missing out, although they will likely feature when the sides meet again on Tuesday.

Iceland are currently 17th in the FIFA World Rankings, which is 17 places above the Girls in Green (34th), and they have qualified for the 2022 UEFA Women’s European Championships.

Pauw admitted in the lead-up to this fixture that she decided they should play against Iceland because they perform “in the same kind of style of Sweden and Finland, who are the top two seeded teams in our World Cup qualifying group” and because they would provide a tough test.

She was right. After a sloppy opening to the game, her side conceded two goals in just three minutes to give themselves a mountain to climb by the quarter of an hour mark.

First, Agla Maria Albertsdottir expertly controlled a long ball over the top before calmly clipping it over goalkeeper Grace Moloney and into the far bottom-right corner before Gunnhildur Yrsa Jonsdottier turned the ball home from close range after good play from Karolina Lea Vilhjalmsdottir.

A mix-up at the back almost let the home side in for another goal but they would deservedly make it 3-0 before the half-time break as Dagny Brynjarsdottir rolled into an empty net from 15 yards after Karolina Lea Vilhjalmsdottir’s stunning strike cannoned off the post.

O’Mahony was introduced during the interval and the Republic’s fortunes soon improved as Heather Payne fired Katie McCabe’s cross into the roof of the net.

Diane Caldwell and Louise Quinn missed good chances to set up an interesting finale and by the time Amber Barrett found the net with a clever finish off the inside of the far upright in injury time, it was too late to salvage a draw.

ICELAND: Sandra Sigurdarottir, Glodis Peria Viggosdottir, Elisa Vidarsdottir, Gunnhildur Yrsa Jonsdottier, Aslaug Munda Gunnlaugsdottir, Ingibjorg Sigurdardottir, Alexandra Johannsdottir, Agla Maria Albertsdottir (Svava Ros Guamundsdottir 80), Elin Jensen (Berglind Bjorg Porvaldsdottir 80), Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Karolina Lea Vilhjalmsdottir.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Grace Moloney, Megan Connolly, Diane Caldwell, Louise Quinn, Katie McCabe, Jamie Finn, Niamh Fahey, Heather Payne, Denise O’Sullivan, Niamh Farrelly (Éabha O’Mahony ht), Aoife Colvill (Amber Barrett ht).

Referee: Rebecca Welch (England).

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