Ireland captain helps Arsenal go top, 'keeper the star in Reading win and Donegal ace on target in Germany

There were plenty of Irish internationals in action in the Women’s Super League and further afield this weekend.

Arsenal's Katie McCabe.
Arsenal's Katie McCabe.
Image: Mike Egerton

IRELAND CAPTAIN KATIE McCabe helped Aresenal climb back to the top of the Women’s Super League [WSL] yesterday, with plenty of Vera Pauw’s internationals in action across the water and further afield over the weekend.

Goalkeeper Grace Moloney and striker Amber Barrett were two to grab the headlines in England and Germany respectively, with impressive performances for their sides.

But to McCabe and the Gunners first, as the Londoners enjoyed a 3-1 win over bottom side Bristol City. It wasn’t exactly straightforward though: Joe Montemurro’s team were forced to come from behind.

Goals from Jordan Nobbs, Caitlin Foord and Vivianne Miedema ultimately cancelled out Abi Harrison’s sixth-minute opener, while Dubliner McCabe played the full 90 minutes.

Elsewhere in the WSL, Everton beat Villa 6-0 to stay hot on Arsenal’s heels. The Toffees are second on goal difference, both top-of-the-table sides earning maximum points from their three games so far.

Reigning champions Chelsea beat Harriet Scott’s Birmingham City 1-0 thanks to Fran Kirby’s early goal, while Manchester City — with Megan Campbell and Tyler Toland on their books — were 4-1 winners over Tottenham.

There was disappointment for Brighton & Hove Albion’s strong Irish contingent, as they lost 3-1 to Casey Stoney’s star-studded Manchester United side.

Midfield duo Denise O’Sullivan and Megan Connolly both started for the Seagulls while Rianna Jarrett came off the bench to replace the latter in the 76th minute, but goals from Ella Toone, Alessia Russo and Jane Ross meant it was United’s day.

On the contrast, star goalkeeper Moloney enjoyed a brilliant outing with Reading as they dug out a 1-0 away win over West Ham. Lauren Bruton scored the game’s only goal in the first half, but Moloney was outstanding between the posts to safely see out the win.

She had a huge performance, keeping a clean sheet and making a vital interception to save Kenza Dali’s second-half penalty. Her fellow Ireland international Leanne Kiernan was sprung from the Hammers’ bench in the 55th minute, and goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan was an unused substitute.

Meanwhile in the Championship, newly-relegated Liverpool — captained by Galway native Niamh Fahey — were 2-1 winners over Coventry United, while Lisa Fallon’s London City Lionesses were beaten 1-0 at home by Lewes.

Glasgow-born Irish international Ruesha Littlejohn is also on the books at Fallon’s side, but she was absent from yesterday’s matchday squad.

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In Germany, Girls In Green and Donegal striker Amber Barrett opened her 2020/21 goal-scoring tally in FC Koln’s 2-1 Frauen-Bundesliga opener against FC Saarbrücken.

Diane Caldwell captained SC Sand, though they were beaten 3-0 by Turbine Potsdam while Claire O’Riordan’s MSV Duisburg played out a scoreless draw with Freiburg. Heavyweights Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg are top of the table there.

In Italy, Louise Quinn played the whole game in Fiorentina’s 1-3 loss to Sassuolo, and Ireland’s first-choice ‘keeper Marie Hourihan dropped to the bench for SC Braga’s 2-0 win in Portugal.

Catch up on the weekend’s domestic Women’s National League action here.

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Emma Duffy

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