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O’Gorman eyes three-in-a-row for Senior Women’s Team

So far this has been a good week for the Republic of Ireland Senior Women’s Team at the Cyprus Cup and it could get even better on Monday when they play South Korea in Parlini (3.30pm Irish time). 

Manager Sue Ronan arrived in Cyprus on Monday with an inexperienced squad that contained six uncapped players, only five players with 20 caps or more and only five players who had previously scored at senior international level. Her side was also coming off the back of a disappointing European Championship campaign which had petered out after a promising start and 12 games during 2012 had produced just two wins, one draw and nine defeats.

But on Wednesday they defeated Northern Ireland 5-1 to record their biggest win since defeating Malta in 2004 and four players scored their first senior international goals. They then followed that up with a 1-0 victory over South Africa on Friday as the team won back to back matches for the first time since 2007 when Romania were beaten 2-0 in May 2007 and 2-1 in October 2007 during a European qualification campaign.

Now the sights are firmly fixed on South Korea next Monday. A win would not only give the team three consecutive wins in a row for the first time since Bosnia Herzegovina, Malta and the Faroe Islands were dispatched in 2004, when Ireland were still ranked among the B division of European women’s football, but it would also give Ireland a prized scalp as South Koran are currently ranked 16th in the women’s world rankings, 18 places above the Irish.

As the team gathered for their post-match huddle following Friday’s  game Meabh de Burca wondered aloud when was the last time the team had won two games in a row because she couldn’t remember it happening. With 54 caps, Friday’s match-winner Áine O’Gorman is one of the most experienced players in the squad this week and she’s knew exactly what her team-mate meant.

“It was a great feeling to finally get back to back wins and now want to make it three-in-a-row although we all know that this is going to be a much more difficult test,” said O’Gorman. “I saw the video of their game against South Africa and they looked very technical and like to move the ball around. Asian women’s football is very strong and they are up there with Japan and North Korea.”

Friday’s winner against South Africa was only the Peamount United forward’s fifth goal at senior international level and she admitted that she has been disappointed with her goals ratio. “I definitely would have liked to have scored more but I’ve made a good few and once the team is doing well it doesn’t matter who scores.” 

O’Gorman is now back in Ireland with Peamount United after a spell in England with Doncaster Belles and admits she has no regrets about coming home. “I’ve got a job and I enjoy playing for Peamount. The new Women’s National League has made a big difference and that standard has definitely improved even from last season. The bulk of this squad here in Cyprus are playing in the League and it is great so see the young players coming through because there are some very good players among them.”

Aine

The squad had a recovery session this morning before being given the rest of the day off to enjoy the sunshine at their beachside hotel. While several players are carrying knocks after two games in three days the major doubt for Monday’s game is Sara Lawlor (hamstring). 

Castlebar Celtic’s Emma Hansberry, who stayed behind in Dublin to captain the U19s against Austria on Thursday, flew into Cyprus last night to join up with the squad for the final two games and bring the number of players available to Ronan up to 22.

Ronan said that she is happy with the way things have gone this week.

“It’s working out great and the players are bonding really well together. Emma Byrne as the new captain is doing a great job making sure the new players are integrating into the squad and there is no doubt that the two results have helped broaden the smiles,” said Ronan. “We took it easy today because yesterday was a tough physical game in very windy conditions and will start focusing on South Korea tomorrow. We’re on a roll and we want to keep that going although it’s going to be a much tougher test than we have faced to date.”

Details

Cyprus Women’s Cup Group C

Results

Republic of Ireland 5 Northern Ireland 1

South Korea 2 South Africa 0

South Africa 0 Republic of Ireland 1

Northern Ireland 0 South Korea 3

Table

                                             P             W           D            L             F             A             PTS        

Rep of Ireland                   2             2             0             0             6             1             6

South Korea                       2             2             0             0             5             0             6

South Africa                       2             0             0             2             0             3             0

Northern Ireland               2             0             0             0             0             8             0

 

Fixtures

Monday, March 11: South Korea v Republic of Ireland, Tasso Marko, Parlini, 3.30pm (Irish time)

Wednesday 13 March: Finals Day, Details TBC.

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