Vera Pauw and hat-trick hero Katie McCabe celebrate after the game. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Cloud 9

'Let's finish it off now,' urges Pauw as nine-goal Ireland look to decisive double-header

The Girls In Green enjoyed an emphatic win in Gori this evening.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND boss Vera Pauw hailed a “fantastic” 9-0 World Cup qualifier win away to Georgia, as attention now turns to September’s decisive double-header.

Captain Katie McCabe bagged a hat-trick in Gori tonight, and was one of six different goal-scorers as the Girls In Green ran riot against Group A’s minnows once again.

Megan Connolly also rattled the net in a Player of the Match performance, along with Louise Quinn (two), Niamh Fahey, Denise O’Sullivan and 17-year-old Abbie Larkin.

The result moves Ireland into second in the group, ahead of play-off rivals Finland and Slovakia, who they meet at home and away respectively in September as their bid to reach a first-ever major tournament hits new heights.

“We’re in pre-season so we we knew that not everything would go right,” Pauw told RTÉ 2 post-match.

“In the first half, we could have been sharper, but they responded so well in the second half, and the subs came in and gave us more energy. That’s just fantastic. Off-season, 9-0, [equalling] a record away win, what else can you want? Very, very well done by the players.”

“We can be even better,” the Dutch coach added, lauding a “crucial” 10-day training camp in Turkey. “We can be sharper, but we are in pre-season and again, that is amazing that you can still score nine goals.”

Her focus switched to the visit of Finland to Dublin on Thursday 1 September immediately, Ireland looking to back up their monumental 1-0 win in Helsinki and 1-1 draw with runaway group winners Sweden in Gothenburg.

“I hope the crowds will come out. I hope that everybody will come to Tallaght Stadium because we need you. This game against Finland, if we win, we’re already through, if I’ve calculated well. With the support in Tallaght Stadium, our home base, with the atmosphere that we always get, let’s finish it off now.”

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McCabe echoed those sentiments in her subsequent interview with Tony O’Donoghue.

“I can’t wait. Look, we’ll have it a week off before we kick into our pre-season with our clubs and then obviously we’ll be ready to go in a couple of weeks time.

“We want to see as many fans as we can, we want to pack out Tallaght Stadium. I believe tickets are on sale July 26th. We want to just make sure we’re packing it out and getting everybody behind this because it’s a massive game and a massive step towards where we want to get it in terms of qualifying for our first major tournament.”

Asked whether the team had outgrown Tallaght with calls for a move to the Aviva heightening, the Arsenal star doubled down on her previous stance.

“No, we want to be playing in Tallaght Stadium. That’s our home pitch, it’s been there for years and we want to sell it out, create a really good atmosphere for everybody. We know the conditions of the pitch and we’re well used to it. So we want to pack that out and make sure we’ve got great support for the game.”

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