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Ireland's World Cup qualification hopes dealt a blow with Norway defeat

A brace from Lisa-Marie Utland saw Colin Bell’s team go down in this evening’s qualifier.

The Norwegian celebrate their first goal.
The Norwegian celebrate their first goal.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Republic of Ireland 0

Norway 2

Ben Blake reports from Tallaght Stadium

NORWAY CLAIMED A deserved win over Ireland’s women in front of 3,172 fans tonight.

Goals from Lisa-Marie Utland either side of half-time did the damage but the visitors could easily have put a couple more past Ireland goalkeeper Marie Hourihan.

The defeat leaves the Girls in Green with a mountain to climb to finish second in Group 3, but they do meet the same opponents again in Stavanger this Tuesday.

Manager Colin Bell made two changes from the side that lost out to the Netherlands at the same venue back in April as Tyler Toland and Aine O’Gorman returned to the line-up.

Ireland set up in a 4-5-1 against the group’s top seeds in an effort to contain their opponents, pack the midfield and capitalise on the counter-attack as Shelbourne striker Leanne Kiernan was tasked with filling the lone striker role.

Ireland teamshot Ireland's starting line-up. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

However, they fell behind on 21 minutes as a corner from Guro Reiten was headed home by Utland.

After breaking the deadlock, the Norwegians began to take control and Hourihan had to tip Reiten’s drilled strike onto the crossbar with a half-hour played.

Ireland trailed by a single goal heading at half-time, and they created their best chance of the evening four minutes after the restart.

Kiernan did all the work on her own to break down the left and drive by a couple of defenders. Upon reaching the box, however, she appeared to run out of steam and shot straight at Ingrid Hjelmseth.

Leanne Kiernan shoots on goal Leanne Kieran shoots at goal. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Norway then doubled their advantage on 61 minutes from another set-piece. A Reiten free-kick was touched on by Syrstad Engan and Utland arrived to side-foot over the line from a couple of yards out.

Bell threw on Amber Barrett for the closing period, but the away side stood strong and even went close again as Reiten struck the post. Down the other end, Karen Duggan blazed a volley over late on.

Norway go two points ahead of Ireland with a game less played and the teams do it all again in four days’ time when it will be effectively win or bust for Bell and his girls.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Marie Hourihan; Sophie Perry-Campbell, Diane Caldwell, Louise Quinn (Claire O’Riordan 37), Aine O’Gorman; Denise O’Sullivan, Karen Duggan, Tyler Toland, Niamh Fahey (Amber Barrett 70), Katie McCabe; Leanne Kiernan.

NORWAY: Ingrid Hjelmseth; Ingrid Wold, Maren Mjelde (c), Maria Thorisdotti, Synne Skinnes Hansen; Caroline Graham Hansen (Vilde Boe Risa 70), Frida Maanum, Ingrid Syrstad Engen, Guro Reiten; Isabell Herlovsen (Synne Jensen 89), Lisa-Marie Utland (Elise Thorsnes 76).

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Ben Blake

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