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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 15 April 2021

'There's no room for error now but we have nothing to fear' - Ireland target second spot in Euro group

Manager Sue Ronan believes finishing runners-up is still achievement after yesterday’s loss to Spain.

The Irish players looking dejected at full-time yesterday.
The Irish players looking dejected at full-time yesterday.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

DESPITE SEEING HER team beaten 3-0 by Spain, Ireland senior women’s manager Sue Ronan remains upbeat about their chances of qualifying for Euro 2017.

Yesterday’s loss at Tallaght Stadium means the Girls in Green have picked up one win and two defeats to sit joint-third with Portugal — although they have game in-hand — while Finland and Spain are both three points better off.

With the introduction of a 16-team tournament for the finals in the Netherlands, however, Ireland could yet qualify for the first time in their history.

Speaking after full-time, Ronan insisted she is proud of how the players performed — particularly in the second half.

“We were playing a very good team but I still think the goals were preventable in the first half,” Ronan said.

“We wanted to be compact and defend well without sitting too deep and I don’t know if a bit of fear factor came in but we started to sit deeper and deeper which invited them on and made it difficult for ourselves.

“I wanted us to push up the pitch more and engage a bit higher (in the second half), which we did.

“Our passing was sloppy. Simple things like when you have the ball after working so hard to win it back then you give it away. That is disappointing. 

I think we proved in the second half that we are a better team than we proved in the first half.

“I’m proud of my players as they worked really hard to stick with them, particularly in the second half. It is just disappointing that the third goal went in.

“They were very good after half-time and we stood up to them even though we looked very tired.

“At the end of the day, anyone who saw the game will admit that Spain are a very good team and any team would be doing well to get points out of them in this group.”

Sue Ronan Ireland women's boss Sue Ronan. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

It is five months until Ireland’s next qualifier, away to Montenegro in April, but Ronan has pinpointed their meeting with Finland next June as a key game.

The Finns came to Dublin and earned a 2-0 win in the group opener and she felt her side are more than capable of claiming three points over there as they didn’t do themselves justice firs time around.

“There is no room for error now,” she added. “I said it to the girls all along that as third seeds we are targeting second place in the group.

“The fact that the finals has been opened out gives a chance to the likes of us so that was our ambition even though you go in trying to win every game and hoping to top the group.

We’re still on target for second place but we’re looking at going to Finland and having to win there and having to beat Montenegro twice.

“We have nothing to fear and the players realise that. We all firmly believe that and we were so disappointed as they were there for the taking and we just didn’t do it.”

“Some of the girls are on their holidays now after a long season abroad. We’ll regroup, do something in January, play the Cyprus Cup in March and we will be well prepared by the time our next qualifier comes around.”

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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