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Ireland teen star Kiernan hits stunning West Ham hat-trick on return from injury

The Cavan striker was on fire yesterday.

Hat-trick hero: Leanne Kiernan.
Hat-trick hero: Leanne Kiernan.

IRELAND’S TEENAGE SUPERSTAR Leanne Kiernan made a memorable return from injury for West Ham yesterday, hitting a hat-trick in their 8-1 demolition of Huddersfield Town.

The Cavan-born striker was the star of the show as the Hammers booked their place in the quarter-finals of the SSE Women’s FA Cup, and Kiernan chipped in with her first hat-trick for the Londoners as they sealed their progression.

The 19-year-old had been struggling with injury since October, missing out on international duty as Colin Bell’s side prepare for their Uefa 2021 European Championships qualifying campaign in September.

But she made a welcome return to action yesterday, with her star continuing to rise across the water as she was also named Hammer of the Match.

“I’m just delighted to be back playing football,” she told West Ham TV afterwards. “It was a great team performance today and we’re into the quarter finals. What more could we want? 

“It’s great to get on the scoresheet and get the hat-trick but it’s about the team at the end of the day. We all played well and I’m really happy.”

Kiernan was a constant threat all day and proved a handful for the Huddersfield defence as she got in good positions, created brilliant chances and captitalised on some of those efforts.

Industrious from start to finish, she fired home her first of the day with 27 minutes on the clock to make it 2-1. The Balieborough native got off the mark with a smashing strike into the top corner.

She rattled the net twice more in the last 10 minutes; her second into the roof of the net after a dazzling run on 81 minutes and her third coming as an 84th-minute rebound.

“I’m really pleased for Leanne,” West Ham manager Matt Beard said afterwards. “She had her injury problems over the last few months so for her to get the start today was terrific, and she’s taken her chance.”

Before being sidelined, Kiernan had made a bright start to life in England scoring sublime goals in pre-season friendlies and Continental Tyres Cup action.

That glittering run continued as she scored her first Super League goal on 30 September but was forced off that same day as the injury nightmare began. 

The highly-rated teenage sensation made the move to West Ham from Shelbourne last summer.

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Emma Duffy

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