Republic of Ireland Women 0-2 Finland Women
The Republic of Ireland Women went down to a 2-0 defeat to Finland in their UEFA European Championship Qualifying Round Group 2 opener at Tallaght Stadium.
A crowd of 2,905 turned out to see the girls in green, but they were ultimately undone by goals from Emma Koivisto and Linda Sallstrom in the Group 2 clash.
Denise O’Sullivan had Ireland’s best chance of the game on 12 minutes, having collected a gift from Anna Westerlund. O’Sullivan though didn't have any luck in front of the Finnish goal, striking to the right and wide.
The visitors took the lead 60 seconds later through Koivisto as her cross took a deflection off Sophie Perry and looped into the Irish net. It was a cruel goal to concede.
Katie McCabe, who was celebrating her birthday, cracked open the Finnish defence four minutes before the break, releasing Aine O’Gorman into space to shoot from the edge of box.
Quick reactions from Finnish goalkeeper Tinja-Rikka Korpela allowed her to flick away O’Gorman’s drive but O’Sullivan reacted quickest to the loose ball, although her shot was blocked by Koivisto yards from the line.
The introduction of Ruesha Littlejohn just before half-time saw Ireland’s midfield come together, after Ronan shuffled her pack following Megan Campbell was forced off with an injury.
Littlejohn came closest to an Irish goal in second half when her stunning drive from the edge of the penalty area brought the best out of the alert Korpela.
O’Sullivan headed wide just after the hour mark, connecting with Meabh DeBurca’s right wing cross as Ireland continued to pressure the Finnish goal, but Sallstrom finished things off with a close-range header.
Despite the result, Ronan will be able to pick out plenty of positives from her team's performance as they switch their focus to next month's trip to Portugal before playing host to Spain in November.
Republic of Ireland: Byrne; DeBurca, Quinn, Campbell (LittleJohn 43), Perry; Caldwell, Fahey; McCabe, O’Sullivan, Russell (Killeen 70), O’Gorman (Roche 71).
Finland: Korpela; Koivisto, Westerlund, Hyyrynen, Mattsson; Heroum, Kukonen, Alanen, Kuikka, Engman (Kemppi 87); Sallstrom, Mattsson.
Referee: Janna Adamkova (Czech Republic).