Sport

Ireland score big win over Finland

Oct 26, 2021 23:10 By Dave Hooper
Ireland score big win over Finland Ireland score big win over Finland
26 October 2021; Denise O'Sullivan of Republic of Ireland, centre, celebrates after scoring her side's second goal during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 qualifying group A match between Finland and Republic of Ireland at Helsinki Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, Finland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
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Denise O'Sullivan helps Ireland to big world cup win

Ireland struck a sweet opening victory in 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying with a 2-1 win away to Finland in Helsinki.

The hosts had moved this fixture to their Olympic Stadium as part of 50 year celebrations of women's football but goals from Megan Connolly and Denise O'Sullivan spoiled their evening.

Connolly certainly shifted them in the right direction with a superb curling free-kick on nine minutes that opened the scoring.

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Ireland took control of the game in the early exchanges by pushing Finland back, pressing them high and using the ball well with O'Sullivan linking play so effortlessly.

Finland did have their chances with Linda Sällström and Anna Westerlund going close, while Natalia Kuikka was excellent in her overall play. Yet they rarely troubled goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan.

It took a moment of fortune for the home team to draw level as they took advantage of Katie McCabe being off the pitch with an injury before breaking through and Adelina Engman netting from close range.

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Ireland took just four minutes to respond as Heather Payne raced down the right flank and stood up a superb cross that veteran goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela dropped and O'Sullivan pounced to head in.

McCabe went close soon after with a rasping effort wide, while Finland piled on the pressure in the final minutes but brave defending and a collective performance saw Ireland collect the three points.

Next up for Pauw's team is a double-header in Tallaght Stadium against Slovakia (November 25th) and Georgia (November 30th).

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Finland: Tinja-Riika Korpela; Tuija Hyyrynen, Anna Westerlund, Natalia Kuikka, Emma Koivisto; Adelina Engman, Emmi Alanen, Eveliina Summanen, Ria Öling (Essi Sainio 86); Sanni Franssi, Linda Sällström (Amanda Rantanan 89)

Republic of Ireland: Courtney Brosnan; Áine O’Gorman, Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Savannah McCarthy, Katie McCabe; Megan Connolly, Denise O’Sullivan, Jamie Finn; Lucy Quinn (Rianna Jarrett 75), Heather Payne

Referee: Alexandra Collin (France)

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