Ireland boss: 'You need to take responsibility when you buy a ticket. It is a real shame'

The Girls In Green face Slovakia in Senec tomorrow, hoping to shorten their World Cup play-off route.

Vera Pauw and Louise Quinn at today's pre-match press conference.
Vera Pauw and Louise Quinn at today's pre-match press conference.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND boss Vera Pauw has expressed disappointment after last week’s Finland showdown fell short of a capacity crowd, despite the game having been billed as a sell-out.

The FAI has said that it will review the situation – the record crowd of 6,952 was short of Tallaght’s 8,000 capacity — confirming that it was a result of ticket-holders not turning up on the day of the crunch World Cup qualifier. 

Speaking this evening at the pre-match press conference in Senec before tomorrow’s final Group A qualifier away to Slovakia, Pauw referenced the scenario that saw the FAI unable to redistribute tickets to fans who could attend after ticket-holders did not turn up on the day.

“I think it was teams because there were a series of empty seats,” she began. “They have bought tickets but didn’t show up and that is a real shame. Because there were thousands of girls who wanted to come.

“Every ticket had been sold. What do you do, eh? It’s our marketing department that are dealing with it. We want it to be accessible to everybody. We can make the tickets more expensive but then you put pressure on people who maybe do not have that much [money] available. You want everybody to be able to attend.

“My honest feeling is it comes back to the decency of the people who buy the tickets, and that they know there are thousands of girls crying at home. Literally crying at home because they couldn’t go to the stadium.

“You need to take responsibility when you buy a ticket.”

Pauw and her side are “loading up emotions for another fight” as they chase the 2023 World Cup dream, ahead of tomorrow’s remains group game.

A against Slovakia will shorten Ireland’s play-off route as they look to reach a first-ever major tournament.

The Girls In Green sealed their progression with a 1-0 win over the Finns, and with results elsewhere going in their favour, three points against the Slovaks would propel Ireland into the second round of the Uefa qualifying play-off series as one of the three best runners-up.

“I’m confident,” Pauw said today. “We’ve had a huge emotional explosion on Thursday, the biggest thing is to get back on the ground and load your emotions up to another fight. Because there is no game won without a fight. That is the biggest task, but we don’t do it with stress.

“We also have to realise that we’re missing a few players — Megan Connolly, Ruesha [Littlejohn], Niamh Fahey (all injury) and Jamie Finn who’s suspended. We need to find a few solutions for that.”

Wexford Youths teenage midfielder Aoibheann Clancy has been added to the squad, along with Izzy Atkinson (Aston Villa) and Jessie Stapleton (Shelbourne).

Dutch coach Pauw, one to always discuss growth, noted that the team’s mentality against Finland shows how far the group has come under her tutelage. The next stage is another stop along the way, far from the final destination.

“I don’t know how it was but for this group — even in the European campaign — the play-offs wouldn’t be enough, it was just a step in between. There is everything to play for tomorrow as we can get to the best three second-placed teams that would give us a huge advantage in our play-off position. Of course you can draw one of the top seeds also and there is only one game to prepare for and win.

a-view-of-ireland-training A general view of players at training today. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“There is nothing in us that makes this game less important. It is fantastic that we have reached the play-offs but I hope it is coming out that we make a huge step in our play. I hope that comes out tomorrow.”

Sitting on her right-hand side, stalwart defender Louise Quinn echoed her manager’s sentiments. The Birmingham City captain assured that there would be no easing up despite the fact that a play-off spot has been secured.

“I don’t think so. For us, there’s plenty to play for. Also in the team, there’s plenty to play for in terms of making sure you’re in the next starting XI for a potential play-off, wherever that may be, for Vera to see us and the coaches to see us in the best of our light.

“We’re constantly competing, we constantly want to send messages to other teams about the strength and depth of our team. For us, we’re thrilled to get a play-off, but now we have another chance to make it even a better play-off spot, get that extra bonus for the hard work that we’ve done and to keep pushing through in this group like we always have.

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“For us, there’s never complacency in the games, there’s always so much to play for as a team and personally.”

The sides drew 1-1 when they met in November, Peter Kopún’s team scoring just one of four goals Ireland has conceded in this campaign.

“We don’t underestimate Slovakia,” Pauw added. “This is a very, very good footballing team. They had a good sense of positional play, they have the skills to execute that in a small space.

“There’s a lot of street footballers in it, very mobile and know exactly what they do on that pitch. It is a very dangerous squad, they drew against Finland, against us, only small losses against Sweden, so we are fully prepared for tomorrow.”

Slovakia manager Peter Kopun is targeting a win, though has been impressed by Ireland.

“We presumed Sweden and Finland would be the two favourites but Ireland have become the dark horse. I have been completely surprised by what Ireland have done in this group.

“Their defence has worked well. Finland and Sweden had issues trying to break them down so presumably we will also. We could have won our last game against Ireland in Dublin so don’t feel like outsiders.

“We also know Ireland must win to go straight to the play-off final but we also have something to play for.”

About the author:

Emma Duffy  / Reports from Senec, Slovakia.

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