A second-half fight-back saw the Republic of Ireland Under-19 Women record a 2-1 victory over England to move top of Group B in the UEFA Championship finals.
Headed goals from Savannah McCarthy and Keeva Keenan cancelled out England’s opener as Ireland logged their second successive victory in this tournament ahead of their clash with Sweden on Monday night.
Determined to get off to a good start and build on last Tuesday’s win over Spain, Dave Connell’s team started with purpose and their clever play stretched their opponents in midfield.
The positive play produced by Ireland, who were dressed in an away black kit, was almost complimented with a goal on five minutes when Clare Shine went close from distance.
Focused on their game-plan, Ireland were patient in their play and explosive on the counter attack with Shine, Sarah Rowe and Katie McCabe regularly breaking beyond the English back line.
It was encouraging play with Amy O’Connor, Lauren Dwyer and Megan Connolly doing a fantastic job in midfield, linking with the forward players and shutting down opposition attacks.
Yet, it was England who scored the first goal on 36 minutes. A break down the right saw Millie Turner chip a cross into Claudia Walker, who headed past keeper Brooke Dunne from close range.
Ireland got back level when McCarthy powered her way past two defenders to meet Connolly’s delivery from a corner kick and head in via the far post. It was exactly what they deserved.
While Shine went off with a neck injury, Ireland continued to improve and substitute Keenan followed McCarthy’s example by getting on the end of a set-piece from Connolly to head in.
England crashed a shot off the crossbar late on, but this was a deserved win and Ireland are now on six points with one group game left to play and the knockout stages in sight.
Republic of Ireland: Dunne; Wright, O’Connell, McCarthy, Mustaki (Keenan 69); O’Connor, Dwyer, Connolly; Rowe, Shine (Nolan 75), McCabe.
England: Baggaley; Mills, Bartrip, Sampson, Ayane; Cusack, Turner (Steele 75), Dear; Mayling, Walker, Humphrey (Haines 75).
Referee: Anastasia Pustovoitova (Russia).