Heather Payne instrumental in dominant victory over Portugal

Portugal 1

Ireland 3

Ballinasloe’s Heather Payne starred as the Republic of Ireland Women’s team scored impressive 3-1 win over Portugal.

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Goals from captain Katie McCabe, Leanne Kiernan and Louise Quinn secured the victory against the hosts with Diana Silva’s strike a late reply.

Ireland suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat in the first international friendly between the two sides on Thursday and Head Coach Colin Bell made two changes from that defeat.

Ruesha Littlejohn started her first game since September 2016 and she was partnered up front by Shelbourne striker Leanne Kiernan.

The Killinkere youngster was heavily involved in Ireland’s opening goal just past the half-hour.

Peamount winger Heather Payne latched onto a loose ball on the half-way line and put Kiernan through down the right, and it was her brilliant cross which found McCabe to head home.

Three minutes after the break, Kiernan had a deserved goal of her own.

Niamh Fahey played a long ball forward and the Cavan-native used her blistering pace to beat the defender to the ball and fire home over the keeper.

Ireland dominated the game with McCabe’s long-range 50th minute effort just tipped over, before Arsenal defender Louise Quinn added a third to secure the victory.

Quick thinking McCabe collected a short left-sided corner and found a pin-point cross for Quinn to rise highest and head home off the post.

Diana Silva scored a consolation for the hosts with 10 minutes remaining as Ireland, rounded off the two-game week in the Azores.

“They were fantastic goals and I’m delighted for Leanne Kiernan who performed to the levels we know she’s capable of today” explained Ireland head coach Colin Belly.

“She’s trained really well over the past two days and got a deserved goal, I’m delighted for her” added Bell.

“They were plenty of great performances and it’s been another important week as we continue to prepare for the qualifiers in April.”

“This is a great result to keep that momentum going and we can take plenty of confidence from this.”

Republic of Ireland: Hourihan (GK), Payne, Caldwell, Quinn, Fahey, Scott, Toland, O’Sullivan, McCabe (C), Littlejohn (McLoughlin 81), Kiernan (Atkinson 90).