The Republic of Ireland lost out on their Euro 2017 dreams after they were left in 3rd spot with 2nd out of reach after the recent qualifying games.
They went up against Finland first as the visitors and were looking for 3 points in order to put them into contention for 2nd place and a playoff spot. Our own Steph Roche missed out on the starting XI, but was named on the bench. Despite Finland beating them 2-0 at home early in the qualifying rounds, the game looked to be an even match until Finland took the lead half an hour in, and were leading 2-0 at the break. Finland were winning 3-0 when Roche made her way onto the pitch, replacing Aine O’Gorman. She made an immediate impact when she pulled a goal back for the visitors just 4 minutes after she came on. Unfortunately it didn’t help them, as Finland scored again 5 minutes before the end of the game, meaning the ROI team lost 4-1.
The team then returned home to Ireland to tackle Montenegro, who they had previously beaten 5-0 away. Clearly making an impact n the previous game, this time Roche was named to start the game. Ireland quickly went head, them taking the lead just 3 minutes in with our very own black cat getting the goal. at half time they were 3-0 up after O’Gorman scored number 2 and Roche got her second of the game after slotting home an incredible 25 yard out free kick with her left. O’Gorman completed a hat-trick and put the team 5-0 by 58 minutes, and Louise Quinn made it 6 on 62 minutes. Roche then went on to score 2 more goals, one on 65 minutes, and a header on 68 minutes to complete her hat-trick, the second ROI hat-trick of the match. This had the team 8-0 up with over 20 minutes to play, with the opportunity to beat their all time highest score line record of 9-0 against Malta in 2003. However, despite the quick succession of goals early in the first half they were only able to level with the record, with Fiona O’Sullivan making it 9 with 7 minutes left on the clock. This was, however, a new record scoreline in a home game, and a massive congratulations goes out to the entire squad, especially our very own hero of the game Steph, for their incredible achievement.
Unfortunately, this incredible result still left Ireland out of the chances of gaining a playoff spot, requiring 4 points to go above Finland and only 1 game left to play. They will look to win in their final game at home to Portugal, and we wish them the best of luck. For the team now, its chins up and looking forward to the next tournament.