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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Gary Carr/INPHO
# bitter end
A disappointing Euro campaign comes to end for Ireland as Portuguese conjure crucial win
The 1-0 defeat meant Sue Ronan’s side finished fourth in Group 2 as the guests sneaked a play-off spot.

Republic of Ireland 0

Portugal 1

ANY HOPES OF qualifying for next summer’s tournament were all but extinguished back in the summer but Sue Ronan’s Republic of Ireland senior women’s side still wanted to finish their Euro 2017 qualification campaign with a home victory in Tallaght.

However, Portugal didn’t get the memo and their 1-0 Group 2 victory this evening ensured them a play-off place and a meeting with Romania in October.

Back-to-back defeats to Spain and Finland in April and June meant the Irish side needed a miracle to make it to the Netherlands and despite a remarkable 9-0 win over Montenegro, there was just too much ground to make up with one fixture remaining.

Still, pride was at stake and the Irish were close to taking the lead after just two minutes when Julie-Ann Russell’s cross was met by the head of Aine O’Gorman, whose effort crashed back off the woodwork.

Ruesha Littlejohn with Isabel Jacome Silva Dolores Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

Scoreless at the break, it remained cagey for the majority of the second half but Portugal began to raise the intensity with 20 minutes to go, knowing a victory could be enough to see them through to the play-offs.

And with 12 minutes left, they made a breakthrough.

Jetta Berrill was adjudged to have fouled Ana Borges in the area and the visitors were awarded a penalty.

Claudia Neto’s effort was superbly saved by Emma Byrne but the Portuguese attacker was quickest to react, pounced on the loose ball and turned it to the net from close range.

The home side couldn’t force an equaliser and finish a disappointing campaign in fourth spot in the group, having racked up three wins from their eight games.

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Meanwhile, Spain put five past Finland in Madrid which meant Portugal moved to joint-second place. But their better head-to-head record meant they pipped the Finns to the play-offs and can still dream of making it to the finals next summer.

Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne, Sophie Perry, Jetta Berrill, Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey, Karen Duggan (Roma McLaughlin, 82′), Diane Caldwell, Aine O’Gorman (Fiona O’Sullivan, 87′), Ruesha Littlejohn, Julie-Ann Russell (Clare Shine, 64′), Katie McCabe.

Portugal: Patricia Morais, Silvia Rebelo, Matilde Fidalgo, Claudia Neto, Ana Borges, Ana Leite (Diana Silva, 90′), Dolores Silva, Carole Costa, Vanessa Marques, Amanda Da Costa (Tatiana Pinto, 64′), Suzane Pires (Fatima Pinto, 82′).

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Hat-tricks for Stephanie Roche and Áine O’Gorman as Ireland put 9 past Montenegro

Irish women’s Euros hopes all but ended by Finland rout

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