The Ireland side that started against Nigeria. Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Player ratings: How the Girls in Green fared against Nigeria

Stalemate in Brisbane as Ireland bow out with first point of the tournament.

Courtney Brosnan: Produced one of the moments of the tournament so far with a world class save to deny Uchenna Kanu in the 52nd minute. The close-range header looked destined for the net before the Ireland keeper showed superb anticipation to read the direction, followed by quick hands to push it onto the crossbar. Will mean ever more with the clean sheet. Commanding in the air and sharp of her line when required. 8

Heather Payne: Confident and positive for large parts on that right side, linked well at times with Denise O’Sullivan and was a constant outlet for switch of play. Crossed well for Ireland’s best chance in first half. Showed no signs of the hamstring injury that forced her out of the starting XI against Canada and did a decent job keeping Rasheedat Ajibade in check. 6

Niamh Fahey: Alert to counter attacks and when Nigeria won possession from loose play in midfield. Gave away some sloppy passes from the back yet also seemed assured when dealing with balls coming into the Ireland defensive third. Gave Payne a dig out at times covering on her side when she was allowed venture up the pitch. 6

Louise Quinn: Blessed that a poor pass out from the back didn’t put Ireland on the back foot inside 15 minutes. When it was intercepted easily by Kanu, she slipped in danger woman Asisat Oshoala who had a clear sight of goal on the run. Luckily her effort flashed wide. Like Fahey, helped Ireland get through a tricky 20-minute spell in second half with a clean sheet, although they had Brosnan to thank for that. 6

Megan Connolly: Really good distribution from the back and awareness defensively with some crucial interceptions. Looked to be the one Ireland centre back who could get Ireland into promising positions further up pitch. Demands changed after the break as Nigeria put on the pressure. 7

Katie McCabe (captain): Almost added to her goal tally when she dragged a fifth-minute shot wide of the post from the edge of the area. She had supported the attack well and came onto the Sinead Farrelly lay-off at just the right time. Produced one lovely flick to set up an attack but became frustrated in second half, leading to a yellow card for a professional foul. 6

Lily Agg: Brought into the team to allow Denise O’Sullivan to operate from a more advanced position. Was caught in possession on a few occasions yet also provided an element of cover and protection that was required. Didn’t move the ball quick enough at times but continued to offer an outlet for her defenders. 6

Ruesha Littlejohn: Once again the pick of Ireland’s midfielders. Matched the physicality of Nigeria and also looked really confident when on the ball. A couple of ambitious switches of play didn’t quite come off but she was the one who helped Ireland get a foothold in first half. Comfortable taking the ball on both feet and will surely have no problem getting a club after her displays. 7

Denise O’Sullivan: Given the opportunity to make a difference closer to Ireland’s attacking third as manager Vera Pauw tweaked the starting XI. Her quick throw led to that early Katie McCabe opportunity and the pair also combined superbly not long after which led to O’Sullivan threading a pass through for Kyra Carusa. Faded as an attacking threat along with  the rest of side in the second half but work rate never wavered. 6

Sinead Farrelly: Showed again what she brings in terms of technical ability. Some neat link up play once more with Katie McCabe and teed up the Ireland skipper for a shot from edge of box after five minutes. Her primary role was to offer security defensively with the impressive Michelle Alozi really impressive rampaging down her side. 6

Kyra Carusa: Closest she came to a goal was a header from close range that was difficult to get any sort of power behind. Didn’t have as much joy running in behind or down the channels as she did against Canada but worked so hard to try and give her teammates an outlet by showing to feet and holding up the ball. 6

Substitutes: Marissa Sheva and Abbie Larkin replaced Lily Agg and Heather Payne with seven remains remaining while Diane Caldwell earned her 97th cap off the bench in injury time.

Vera Pauw: Unlike the first two games, the Ireland boss stuck with her starting XI deep into the second half. Seemed content – understandably – to stick with the players in heat of battle as they fought for a first World Cup point. They duly delivered it. More attention will now turn to her contract situation but for a first appearance on this stage, the Ireland boss got more right than wrong and made them a competitive force throughout. 7

Attendance: 24, 884

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel