The Republic of Ireland senior women’s team have won their second game at the Cyprus Cup with a 1-0 win over South Africa this afternoon.
The only goal of the game came from Peamount United’s Aine O’Gorman after 51mins.
Ireland now has full points from two games in Group C having beaten Northern Ireland 5-1 on Wednesday. Their final group game is on Monday against South Korea.
Manager Sue Ronan made three changes to the team which started on Wednesday with Seana Cooke coming in for Meadbh de Burca at right back, Grace Murray replacing Áine O’Gorman on the left wing and Stephenie Roche taking over from Sara Lawlor up front.
A gale force which win blew down the field from end to end didn’t help the quality of the game and the Irish struggled when playing with it in the first half.
But they did manage to carve out a few chances with Ruesha Littlejohn prevented from opening the scoring in the first minute thanks to a timely block and Roche seeing her curling shot tipped around a post by South Africa goalkeeper Andile Dlamini.
Dlamini was to be a major thorn in Ireland’s side throughout the match with a string of excellent saves including one from Denise O’Sullivan after 19 minutes. She then watched Grace’s Murray’s corner in the 25th minute headed over by Lousie Quinn and breathed a sigh of relief on 38 minutes when Murray’s in-swinging corner bounced off her crossbar.
At the other end skipper Emma Byrne had to be on her toes when Jermaine Seoposenwe found herself through on goal. Byrne parried the initial shot and then recovered quickly to keep out the rebound effort from Mary Ntsweng.
The Irish actually played better into the wind in the second half and Ronan made three changes at half-time with Eve Badana replacing Byrne in goal, O’Gorman coming on for Murray and Ciara Grant taking over from Denise O’Sullivan.
It took only six minutes from O’Gorman to make impact. Roche broke down the right and squared to Littlejohn who fed O’Gorman and the Peamount winger cut inside her marker before unleashing a powerful shot past Dlamini.
The Irish endured few scary moments after that. Amanda Dlamini hits the crossbar with a long range shot, Noko Matlou was wide with a header at the back post and goalkeeper Badana had to be at her very best in final minutes to tip a shot onto her post and gather the rebound.
Karen Duggan of Peamount United made her debut when she came on as a 69th minute substitute for Yvonne Tracey.
After the match Sue Ronan was delighted that her side had maintained their 100% start to the competition and recorded back to back wins.
Ronan said: “It was tough out there today because of the wind which really ruined the game. We struggled playing with it in the first half and over-hit a lot of passes but we did much better against it in the second half.
“Aine took her goal very well and it was great to give Eve Badana some game time and see her keep a clean sheet as well. We have two days rest now before the South Korea game and we’ll need it.”
Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United DFF), Yvonne Tracy (Arsenal), Megan Campbell (Raheny United), Seana Cooke (Raheny United), Diane Caldwell (Alvadsnes), Ruesha Littlejohn (Glasgow City), Denise O’Sullivan (Cork Women’s FC), Shannon Smyth (Amazon Grimstad FK), Grace Murray (Peamount United), Stephanie Roche (Peamount United).
Subs: Eve Badana (Drexel University) for Byrne (46),Aine O’Gorman on for Murray (46), Ciara Grant (Peamount United) for O’Sullivan (46), Karen Duggan (Peamount United) for Tracey (69), Noelle Murray (Raheny United) for Roche (82).