Cork soccer star Megan Connolly and Ireland firmly focused on Finland

Leeside Denise O'Sullivan also hit the net for Ireland away to Georgia which leaves them one win away from a World Cup playoff
Cork soccer star Megan Connolly and Ireland firmly focused on Finland

Ireland’s Megan Connolly with Ana Cheminava and Nino Pasikashvili of Georgia. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

THE match may be months away but already the anticipation is growing ahead of the Republic of Ireland Women’s clash with Finland at Tallaght Stadium.

It is already hoped that the match will be played in front of a raucous sell-out crowd at the home of Shamrock Rovers as Ireland look to create history and move a step closer to achieving something monumental.

Their recent 9-0 hammering of Georgia means that a playoff spot to qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup will be secured if they beat the Finnish in Dublin on September. 1

A superb performance from Cork’s Megan Connolly in particular, which saw the midfielder claim a goal, three assists, and the player of the match award, helped Ireland secure the three points which sends them second in Group A with just two games remaining.

“Everyone’s happy,” beamed Connolly.

That’s because they know a first-ever World Cup playoff berth is in sight. If they win that, then qualification to a first-ever World Cup and even just qualification to a first-ever major tournament will be secured.

“A lot of people are in the off-season but I think it was important we just all came together. We were ruthless when we could be, and got the nine goals,” continued the former College Corinthians midfielder, who was joined on the scoresheet by fellow Leesider Denise O’Sullivan.

“We could have got more. I think we would have been disappointed in the first half. But I think we upped it in the second half, put more on the scoreboard. We wanted to get more, we wanted to keep going.

“It’s one of those days where everything goes right. You have those days, some days none of them go right.

Megan Connolly of Republic of Ireland with the Player of the Match award. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Megan Connolly of Republic of Ireland with the Player of the Match award. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

“I was lucky today, people got on the end of it. It’s all about the delivery, but at the end of it, you need someone making that run.

“You need someone putting their body on the line to try get it in. It’s 50/50. I’m glad I could help get some goals in.

“To be fair, it was put on a plate by Katie (McCabe). You could say it was easy, but the ball was perfect. I didn’t really have to move. I just stood there and it just hit my foot. So credit to Katie for the deliveries.

“She did really well and then obviously, Lou got on the end of a lot of them, so that helps.

“But it was all about the win and just getting goals on the board. Now we’re looking forward to the next game.

“Obviously, it could have been easy to get carried away and look too far ahead. But it was important for us to focus on today and I think we did a great job.”

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