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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

Heartbreak for Ireland as crazy finish at Tallaght sees Germans nick points

Sue Ronan’s side almost earned a famous point against their heavyweight opponents.

Fiona O'Sullivan tussles with Germany's Josephine Henning.
Fiona O'Sullivan tussles with Germany's Josephine Henning.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Republic of Ireland 2

Germany 3

LOUISE QUINN’S SECOND-minute header set Ireland on the way to the most unlikely of results against the side ranked number two in the world at Tallaght Stadium today.

And despite a second-half comeback earning the points for Germany, Ireland can take great credit, if not the points from this game.

Germany came into this game top of World Cup qualifying Group 1. From five games to date, they had won maximum points and plundered 40 goals. They conceded none, until Quinn’s early opener.

Manager Sue Ronan was obviously looking to utilise Megan Campbell’s long throws. A throw-in on the left saw Ireland fill the German box. Campbell’s delivery, ala Rory Delap, was met by Eskilstuna United’s Quinn, who flicked a header across goalkeeper Nadine Angerer and into the net.

With such a formidable opponent in town, Ireland were disciplined and drilled as expected. Millwall’s Sophie Perry and Peamount’s Julie Ann Russell impressed but the visitors soon settled into the task in hand and dominated possession, but chances were at a premium.

Denise O'Sullivan and Nadine Kebler Ireland's Denise O'Sullivan and Nadine Kebler of Germany. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

When they did break through, Ireland were saved by an old – and very reliable hand. Emma Bryne, making her record-breaking 106th senior appearance in a green shirt got out quick to deny Simone Laudehr when Campbell failed to clear.

Germany’s equaliser did eventually come. On 65 minutes, despite Perry and Dzsenifer Morozsan lying stricken in the centre of the field, the referee played on only to see Anja Mittag upended by Quinn. Laudehr blasted the resultant spot kick past Byrne.

The German’s carved out opportunities and eventually, their dominance paid off. In the 84th minute, Lena Lotzen competed with Byrne for a cross, resulting in a coming together. Lotzen was quickest to react to poke behind Byrne, seething she hadn’t been awarded a free-kick, for 2-1.

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Emma Byrne acknowledges the crowd after receiving her 100th cap Ireland's Emma Byrne acknowledges the crowd after receiving her 100th cap. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

While Ireland had captain Byrne to marshall a resolute if ultimately fruitless defensive display, consider the talent and experience at Germany’s disposal. Their starting line-up consisted of three centurions among players from Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg.

That talent ultimately won the game. Despite sub Stephanie Roche getting the final touch on another Campbell throw to level at 2-2, moments later just as the clock ticked into injury time, Irish hopes were dashed when Melanie Leupolz scored a stunning left foot effort from distance.

Aine O'Gorman wearing pink laces in support of breast cancer awareness Ireland's Aine O'Gorman wearing pink laces in support of breast cancer awareness. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A record-breaking day for Emma Byrne was almost a record-breaking day in another sense for Ireland. Gemany are eight-time Euro champs while Ireland have never qualified for a major tournament so the positives to be taken from this creditable defeat can’t be underestimated.

In terms of qualifying, Ireland stay in second with seven points, one clear of third placed Russia. Catching Germany is a pipe dream, but a playoff place remains a real possibility.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Emma Byrne [C], Meabh De Burca, Louise Quinn, Megan Campbell, Sophie Perry, Dora Gorman (Diane Caldwell, 86), Shannon Smyth (Ciara Grant, 58), Denise O’Sullivan, Julie Ann Russell, Fiona O’Sullivan (Stephanie Roche, 80), Aine Gorman.

Substitutes: Niamh Reid-Burke, Diane Caldwell, Ruesha Littlejohn, Karen Duggan, Ciara Grant, Stephanie Roche, Siobhan Killeen.

GERMANY: Nadine Angerer [C], Bianca Schmidt, Annike Krahn, Simone Laudehr, Melanie Behringer (Melanie Leupolz, 59), Dzsenifer Marozsan, Anja Mittag, Tabea Kemme (Lena Lotzen, 46), Josephine Henning, Lena Goesling, Nadine Kessler (Alexandra Popp, 70).

Substitutes: Lena Lotzen, Almuth Schult, Melanie Leupolz, Alexandra Popp, Marie Pauline Bremer, Luisa Wensing, Sara Dabritz.

Referee: Carina Susanna Vitulano (ITA)

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About the author:

Barry Landy

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