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Kenny Shiels and his Northern Ireland side in training.
Kenny Shiels and his Northern Ireland side in training.
Image: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

Shiels' Northern Ireland make history and reach Euro 2022 play-offs

On a night where the Republic’s dream of reaching a first-ever major championships ended, the North’s lives on.
Dec 1st 2020, 11:42 PM 3,835 2

WHILE THE REPUBLIC of Ireland’s Euro 2022 qualification quest came to an end tonight, Northern Ireland’s hopes of etching their names into history lives on.

Kenny Shiels’ Northern Ireland secured a play-off spot with a 5-1 victory over the Faroe Islands at Seaview, as their dream of reaching a first-ever major tournament continues.

While the visitors took a shock lead with just four minutes on the clock through Jensa Kannuberg Torolvsdottir, Liverpool star Rachel Furness’ headed equaliser two minutes later settled the North.

Kirsty McGuinness made it 2-1 by half time, before Birmingham City’s Chloe McCarron added another excellent strike just inside the hour-mark. Substitute Caitlin McGuinness, Kirsty’s younger sister and Sion Swifts team-mate, grabbed their fourth in the 77th minute, while an own goal in the 88th ensured it finished 5-1.

Former Derry City boss Shiels will now lead his side to their first-ever play-off for a major tournament next year ahead of the 2022 finals in England, having retained second spot in Group C with Wales left disappointed despite a 3-0 win over Belarus.

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Vera Pauw’s Ireland share that disappointment after they were beaten 3-1 by Germany at Tallaght Stadium tonight; Katie McCabe’s excellent penalty just before half time not enough to stop the all-conquering Germans who qualified automatically for the tournament as they eye a ninth European crown.

Ukraine qualified as runners-up in Group I, having been pushed all the way by minnows Montenegro in Kiev — the destination where Ireland’s qualification ultimately came crashing down.

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Emma Duffy

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