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'She's only 17-years-old, but I hope that everybody has seen how talented she is'

Abbie Larkin scored her first international senior goal in Ireland’s 9-0 trouncing of Georgia.

Abbie Larkin celebrates scoring in Gori.
Abbie Larkin celebrates scoring in Gori.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

HAT-TRICK HERO KATIE McCabe and Player of the Match Megan Connolly may have stolen the spotlight as the Republic of Ireland beat Georgia 9-0 yesterday, but two special moments must be highlighted.

Abbie Larkin and Niamh Fahey both scored their first senior international goals, though at very different stages of their respective careers.

Liverpool captain and key defender Fahey found the back of the net 12 minutes into her 104th Ireland cap, the celebrations in Gori showing just how much it meant to the Galway native and her team-mates.

There were similar scenes when Shelbourne 17-year-old Larkin headed home in the 82nd minute, ensuring her fourth cap is one which will live long in the memory.

The teenager was singled out for praise on RTÉ after the final whistle, her second-half cameo a lively one as she continually threatened the Georgians and caught them out with her movement.

“She’s only 17-years-old, but I hope that everybody has seen how talented she is,” Ireland boss Vera Pauw told Tony O’Donoghue.

“She needs to go a long way, we take it easy, but it’s fantastic what she did today on the pitch and we had full confidence to take the decision to put her on.”

McCabe echoed her manager’s words, heaping praise on the youngster lighting it up at her former club as she looks to make a real Women’s National League breakthrough.

Abbie’s been brilliant since she’s come in. She’s learning a lot and really taking her opportunities when they come. I’m delighted for her to get her first goal, and I’m hoping she kicks on now.

“She’s a really young kid, so it’s important that she just keeps her head down, keeps learning and working hard, and I’m sure the rest of the goals will come her way.” 

Reflecting on yesterday’s 9-0 win, skipper and Arsenal star McCabe added:

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“We knew it was going to be tough coming over here, the weather conditions, it was quite humid but we stuck to the game plan and made sure we continued to play the way we wanted to play and ultimately get the three points, that’s what it was all about really.”

With Ireland in pole position for second place in Group A, attention now turns to September’s decisive double-header against Finland (at home) and Slovakia (away).

Larkin has certainly made a major case for her inclusion.

Following in the footsteps of the ever-reliable Fahey.  

- updated 07.31.

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Emma Duffy

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