The Republic of Ireland Under-17 Women’s team got off to an impressive start to their UEFA Championships qualifying campaign with a comprehensive 12-1 victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina at Ulyanovsk, Russia.
Dave Connell’s side had complete control from early on in the fixture but are well aware that tougher assignments lie ahead with Turkey next on Thursday morning and hosts Russia also to face in the group.
This victory is a record haul for an Irish underage side. Previously Ireland’s U19 women beat Latvia 11-0 in October 2012, while the men's U19 team beat San Marino 10-1 in September 2003.
Jessica Gargan was Ireland’s top scorer on the day with a four-goal tally while Meagan Connolly and Roma McLaughlin each scored a hat-trick.
Meagan Lynch had opened the scoring in the 13th minute while Keeva Keenan’s finish on the stroke of half-time had sent Connell’s side in leading 7-0 at the break.
Connell said afterwards: “It was a good start so we’re obviously very happy. We got at them from the word go and created lots of chances.
“The pitch was heavy after a thunder storms last night but the girls adjusted very well and it’s nice to see us score a few goals.
“It was a good performance from the girls because we were aware that Bosnia did well in the first stage last year. Three girls scored hat-trick which is unusual and in fairness all of them – Roma McLaughlin, Jessica Gargan and Meagan Connolly - played well.
“Our objective was to get the three points and play as well as we could and we did that. We’ll look at the Turks and Russians and concentrate on the next step. One part of the job is done but we have two more big games left.
“It was a very good team performance. Evelyn Daly didn’t score but did very well and Megan Lynch probably got the goal of the game with a long distance strike to get the ball rolling for us. There were some really excellent individual goals and I was also pleased with how we converted our chances from set-pieces when they arrived.”
Republic of Ireland: Brooke Dunne (Amanda McQuillan 61), Jamie Finn, Courtney Higgins (Erin Best 66), Keeva Keenan, Savannah McCarthy, Roma McLaughlin, Megan Lynch (Lauren Kealy 57), Evelyn Daly, Jenny Clifford, Meagan Connolly, Jessica Gargan.
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Zorana Vesić (Lucija Leovac 41), Nataša Radulović, Ulmija Lužić, Andrea Grebenar, Ana Bojanić (Mirha Hadžo 45), Josipa Strukar, Amna Lihović (Esmeralda Mujkić 67), Merima Bujak, Jelena Koprena, Marija Aleksić, Zerina Piskić.