'I'm dreaming' - Ireland's heroes savour epic night after earning World Cup play-off spot

Lily Agg scored the winner for Vera Pauw’s side against Finland.

Ireland players celebrate Lily Agg's goal.
Ireland players celebrate Lily Agg's goal.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IT WAS A night to remember for the Republic of Ireland women’s team after earning a play-off spot for the 2023 World Cup with a brilliant 1-0 win over Finland.

Vera Pauw’s side are now one step closer to reaching a first-ever major tournament for Ireland thanks to a brilliant header from substitute Lily Agg in the second half.

Playing in front of a packed Tallaght Stadium, Ireland edged out a gritty contest against the second seeds outfit to ensure they secure second spot in Group A.

“It’s unreal, I think I took a clattering, I got my head on it and – yeah – unbelievable,” a delighted Agg told RTÉ Sport after the epic result. Agg finished the tie with the Player of the Match award after making a decisive impact following her introduction in the 40th minute.

“It was really hard out there. The girls worked so hard and everyone was giving it their absolute all. They deserve this so much, I’m so grateful to be part of it. What a night!

“Everyone is absolutely buzzing. Vera said no partying but we’ll see about that. I’m dreaming, honestly. These girls are amazing. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.

“It’s everyone’s dream [to get to a World Cup], we’re gonna do all we can to get there.”

Ireland captain Katie McCabe said she was “speechless” after her side’s effort, and insists that nights like this must become a more regular event for Irish women’s football in the future.

“We didn’t play particularly well tonight but we couldn’t care less. We got the three points and that was the main thing, and we’ve got a play-off to a World Cup.

“Before the campaign, we played against a lot of higher ranked opposition to try and prepare us for these stress scenarios and I think we’ve showed that. We’ve beaten Finland twice and got the draw away to Sweden. We want to compete against these big nations and make sure we’re at major tournaments going forward.”

Remarking on the tough challenge that Finland brought, she added:

“We knew they were going to come at us and it was just about absorbing it and soaking it up as much as we can. We got the goal from a set piece and Lily Agg with an unbelievable finish.”

Summing up the significance of the result, she concluded:

Gavin Cooney
Reports From Qatar

Get Gavin's exclusive writing and analysis from the 2022 Fifa World Cup

Become a Member

“We met two legends earlier on during the week at dinner: they paved the way for us – Emma Byrne, Yvonne Treacy, Ciara Grant and everyone that’s paved the way for us to be in the position we’re in now.

“I could go on, and to be able to get a play-off for the World Cup for them and inspire the next generation of young women footballers is an absolute dream.”

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

About the author:

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel