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As it happened: Ireland v Hungary, Nations League

Ireland faced Hungary as they sought to maintain their 100% record in the competition.

Ireland 1-0 Hungary

Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

Ireland go into tonight’s match with a 100% record in their group.

The Girls in Green are already promoted to League A no matter what happens, but will keen to maintain their recent winning run.

Hungary, meanwhile, are battling with Northern Ireland for second place, which would put them in the promotion playoffs.

They currently trail the North by two points, after they won 4-0 away to Albania in today’s earlier game.

So a win for the visitors is badly needed but unlikely, given that Eileen Gleeson’s side won the reverse fixture 4-0. 

Confirmation of the Ireland team below, which sees four changes from the last game — Heather Payne, Ruesha Littlejohn, Megan Connolly and Izzy Atkinson are in while Diane Caldwell, Sinead Farrelly, Erin McLaughlin and Abbie Larkin are out.

With Caldwell on the bench, it looks like Megan Connolly will slot in at centre-back.

Courtney Brosnan; Caitlin Hayes, Louise Quinn, Megan Connolly; Heather Payne, Ruesha Littlejohn, Tyler Toland, Izzy Atkinson; Denise O’Sullivan, Katie McCabe; Kyra Carusa.

Who do you think will win?

Poll Results:

Ireland (261)
Hungary (35)
Draw (16)

tyler-toland Ireland’s Tyler Toland. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Confirmation of the Hungary team…

1. Szocs 18. Kovács 20. Turányi 17. Németh 5. Németh 23. Papp 3. Csiszár 19. Zeller 6. Fenyvesi 8. Szabó 15. Vachter

Substitutes: 2. Siber 4. Pusztai 7. Kaján 9. Savanya 10. Sule 11. Nagy 12. Borók 13. Pápai 14. Nagy 16. Vida 21. Zágor 22. Schildkraut

caitlin-hayes Ireland’s Caitlin Hayes Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

republic-of-ireland-interim-manager-eileen-gleeson-left-during-the-warm-up-before-the-uefa-womens-nations-league-group-b1-match-at-the-tallaght-stadium-dublin-picture-date-friday-december-1-202 Republic of Ireland interim manager Eileen Gleeson (left) during the warm up. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

We’re underway…

Ireland have started on the front foot.

A couple of corners have tested the Hungarian defence, but they’ve yet to carve out a clear-cut opportunity.

republic-of-ireland-fans-in-the-stands-during-the-uefa-womens-nations-league-group-b1-match-at-the-tallaght-stadium-dublin-picture-date-friday-december-1-2023 Republic of Ireland fans in the stands. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Hungary threaten with a rare attack.

Fenyvesi finds space behind the Irish defence but her low shot from a tight angle is comfortably dealt with by Brosnan.

Ireland go close!

Kovacs’ backpass is underhit. Carusa latches onto it, goes round the goalkeeper but can only find the side netting from a tight angle.

Atkinson’s ball in from the left finds O’Sullivan, whose header loops onto the top of the net.

Ireland continue to dominate but no breakthrough yet.

hungarys-dora-zeller-left-and-republic-of-irelands-isibeal-atkinson-battle-for-the-ball-during-the-uefa-womens-nations-league-group-b1-match-at-the-tallaght-stadium-dublin-picture-date-friday Hungary's Dora Zeller (left) and Republic of Ireland's Isibeal Atkinson battle for the ball. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Hungary are coming more into it.

Zeller gets away from a couple of Irish players on the right before testing Brosnan with a powerful shot that the goalkeeper turns away (21 mins).

Moments later, Hungary break through Szabb though her cross eludes everyone and drifts just wide of the goal (23 mins).

denise-osullivan-and-lilla-turanyi Ireland’s Denise O'Sullivan and Lilla Turányi of Hungary. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

A Connolly cross causes a bit of panic before Hungary eventually clear (26 mins).

Better from Ireland after a bit of a fallow period.

A cross is only half cleared and falls to Littlejohn, who catches it reasonably well first time, but her effort is a few inches over (30 mins).

Those are the type of half-chances that Ireland have largely had to rely on so far.

A Hungary corner causes problems.

Nemeth gets her head on the ball but can’t get a proper connection and it goes a few inches wide (34 mins).

That’s the closest Ireland have come.

The ball breaks kindly for Payne after Hungary lose possession in their final third.

She slips through O’Sullivan, whose low shot is saved via the feet of goalkeeper Szocs (36 mins).

The North Carolina Courage star will feel she could have done better there.

42 mins: Ireland go close again.

Connolly’s corner finds the head of Hayes, but the Celtic defender’s looping header goes marginally wide.

referee-shona-shukrula Referee Shona Shukrula. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

46 mins: Good work by Carusa down the right to escape her mark.

However, Kovacs makes a timely intervention to cut out the Ireland attacker’s inviting low cross.


So half-time and Ireland have had a couple of decent chances without producing the thoroughly dominant display that the home fans might have been expecting on the back of their emphatic win in Hungary.

The visitors too have had a couple of decent moments, with Brosnan needing to be alert to deny Zeller midway through the first half as the away side grew in confidence as the match progressed.

Ireland look the better side but as long as it stays 0-0, the defensively well-organised Hungarians will fancy their chances of pulling off an upset.

ruesha-littlejohn-reacts-to-a-missed-chance Ireland’s Ruesha Littlejohn reacts to a missed chance. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Hungary make two changes at the break.

Fenyvesi and Vachter are off, Papai and Zagor are on.

The second half has begun…

50 mins: Zeller’s shot from distance is comfortably caught by Brosnan.

It’s been a bright start to the half by the visitors.

53 mins: Connolly’s corner finds Hayes, whose goalbound header is cleared off the line.

Ireland are currently edging the possession battle in what has generally been quite an even game.

It’s certainly an improved display by the Hungarians from the reverse fixture.

57 mins: Ireland make a double change.

Jamie Finn and Lucy Quinn replace Atkinson and Littlejohn.

Katie McCabe seems to have moved to left wing-back as a result of those changes, with Lucy Quinn up front alongside Carusa.

The Arsenal star’s influence has been limited in this second half in the central attacking role so it makes sense that she would switch to the position she regularly plays in at club level.

katie-mccabe-and-dora-zeller Ireland’s Katie McCabe and Dóra Zeller of Hungary. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

64 mins: Another change for Ireland.

Sinead Farrelly is on in place of Toland.


65 mins: Ireland lead and it’s an absolute clanger from a Hungary perspective.

Payne’s cross doesn’t look likely to cause problems but goalkeeper Szocs drops it close to the goal.

A despairing lunge from Csiszar tries to prevent it from going over the line but can only help it into the net.

70 mins: Farrelly is down after a fairly strong challenge from Turanyi with the Ireland player landing awkwardly on her back as a result of the impact. It looks like she’ll be okay to continue.

Meanwhile, Hungary make another change with Kovacs replaced by Vida.

hungary-manager-margret-kratz-during-the-uefa-womens-nations-league-group-b1-match-at-the-tallaght-stadium-dublin-picture-date-friday-december-1-2023 Hungary manager Margret Kratz. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

75 mins: Connolly’s plays in a corner and Papp heads it just over her own bar.

Ireland look much more like to get a second than Hungary do to equalise as it stands.

81 mins: Zeller’s goalbound shot deflects off Connolly and goes out for a corner.

Hungary then make a double change — Szabo and Csiszar are off, with Kajan and Sule coming on.

85 mins: Excellent defence-splitting pass from Farrelly to find Payne but the Everton star overhits her cross from the right.

It’s been a far-from-vintage attacking display by Ireland tonight, but it looks like they’re going to get over the line with another win.

kyra-carusa-celebrates-her-sides-first-goal Ireland’s Kyra Carusa celebrates her side’s first goal. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

90 mins: Heather Payne has been named as the player of the match.

There will be four minutes of stoppage time.


So that’s that.

It was a night where Ireland had to be patient against a much-improved Hungarian side.

They were the better side and deserved the win in the end, though perhaps Eileen Gleeson will concede afterwards that it was not their best performance of the Nations League campaign.

Defensively, they were comfortable enough for much of the game, with the Hungarians seldom posing a serious threat.

Yet the hosts probably weren’t creative enough in attack and didn’t test the goalkeeper enough, with the game’s only goal coming courtesy of a calamitous error from the visitors.

The fact that Ireland had already qualified as group winners going into tonight perhaps partially explains why the display was slightly below par nonetheless they will be pleased to have dug out a victory, thereby continuing their 100% Nations League record.

Right, that’s it from me for now.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

We’ll have more reaction to follow shortly.

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