Ireland v Georgia: Cork players backbone bid to reach first World Cup 

Vera Pauw's side will be hoping to make the trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2023
Ireland v Georgia: Cork players backbone bid to reach first World Cup 

Éabha O'Mahony during a Republic of Ireland Women training session at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

THIS evening promises to be very enjoyable for fans of the Republic of Ireland as their women’s senior side is likely to record another significant victory.

At the risk of their counterparts from Georgia pinning this article up on the wall of their dressing shortly before kick-off (5pm Irish time), it should be a game the Girls in Green win and win comfortably.

That’s because as things stand in Group A, Ireland is firmly in the hunt to finish in second place with just three games to go which would secure a playoff spot and give them a great chance of reaching their first-ever major tournament in the form of the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Vera Pauw’s side has currently scored the second-most goals in the group, despite playing a game fewer than the other four, although that has helped them also concede the second-fewest number of goals.

Those results in the qualifications stages - the most impressive being the 1-1 draw with Sweden, coupled with other notably friendly victories against Poland, Wales, and Australia have seen them climb up to 27th in the latest FIFA Women's World Ranking, equalling their highest ever position.

Georgia, on the other hand, is ranked 124th in the World. In their six group games so far they have suffered six heavy defeats, they have conceded a total of 41 goals and they have yet to score a single one. Hence the earlier optimism.

So Monday evening should see Ireland move one step closer to claiming a playoff spot and they should do so in style based on recent form.

Their last meeting with Georgia back at Tallaght Stadium at the end of November saw Ireland record the biggest ever victory by any Irish team (Men’s or Women’s) in a competitive fixture.

Denise O'Sullivan of Republic of Ireland in action against Magdalena Eriksson of Sweden. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Denise O'Sullivan of Republic of Ireland in action against Magdalena Eriksson of Sweden. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

It was also a great night from a Cork point of view as Denise O’Sullivan netted a hat trick, Saoirse Noonan claimed her first senior goal in only her second senior appearance while Megan Connolly completed the scoring in an 11-0 rout.

The result and performance were so impressive that the following week saw O'Sullivan and Noonan feature on The Late Late Show.

“Thank you, it was an absolute honour,” began O’Sullivan when she was congratulated on her achievement by Ryan Tubridy.

“It was amazing. To get one goal for your country is fantastic but to get three on the same night is an honour.

“My nephew Jack was in the crowd, he absolutely loves football so I went straight over and gave him the ball. His mam sent me a photo that night and he was sleeping with it next to him!” 

Noonan also had a special moment with her family that night as her brother Eoin, who works as a photographer, captured her celebration seconds after the ball hit the net.

“It was nice to have him catch it, especially that moment,” she added.

Hopefully, there are more nice moments to come for O’Sullivan, Noonan, and Connolly while Éabha O’Mahony is also included to make it four Cork natives flying the flag for Ireland.

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