UEFA Women's Under-17s Championship Qualifier Round: Albania 0-10 Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland Women's U17 team kicked off their UEFA Women’s U17s Championship Qualifier Round in emphatic fashion beating Albania 10-0 in Lithuania.
Ireland were 5-0 up by half-time with Emma McLaughlin hitting a first-half hat-trick and Kerryanne Brown netting a brace.
Goals in the second period by Laura Shine, Aoife Horgan, Aoibheann Clancy, Kate Slevin and Rebecca Watkins completed the scoring to give James Scott’s side a stunning victory in their first step to Sweden 2020.
The Girls in Green opened the scoring on 12 minutes through McLaughlin’s finish inside the 18-yard box. Nine minutes later Brown cut in from the right wing and slid her finish past Antigona Hyska in the Albania goal.
Ireland then hit three goals in four minutes. First, McLaughin hit her second of the game after controlling the ball on her chest and smashing it past the keeper. Then Brown rounded the goalkeeper for a tap in and two minutes later Sea Rovers’ McLaughlin completed her hat-trick with another finish inside the box.
At half-time, McLaughlin and goalkeeper Leah Hayes Coen were switched for Shine and Emma Ring. And Ireland showed no let-up in the second half with Shine scoring six minutes after coming on. Horgan was introduced shortly afterwards and she scored with her first touch three minutes after coming on.
Clancy made it 8-0 with great strike from 30 yards but Slevin out did her team-mate with a 40-yard effort following a poor clearance from the Albanian defence.
Watkins’ overhead kick finished the scoring on 89 minutes to make it a perfect 10 for Scott’s team and the Women’s Under-17s Head Coach was thrilled with his side’s performance.
He said: "It was a really good performance and more importantly a great win for the team. We know that these games can come down to goal difference so that was very much in the players’ mind when they went out in the second half.
"You often see performances drop off in the second half when you’ve such a lead at half-time but the players stuck at it and got the win they deserved."
Scott said that he anticipates Friday’s game against the hosts Lithuania to be a much tougher test.
"We can enjoy our win but attention now goes to Lithuania. They lost their game against Greece and are the hosts so they will be looking to prove a point. The staff and the players are full focused and we look forward to another challenge."
Republic of Ireland: Leah Coen Hayes (Emma Ring 45), Kate Slevin, Therese Kinnevey, Della Doherty, Shauna Brennan, Muireann Devaney, Aoibheann Clancy, Ellen Molloy, Emma McLaughlin (Laura Shine 45), Kerryanne Brown (Aoife Horgan 57), Orlagh Fitzpatrick (Rebecca Watkins 57).
Albania: Antigona Hyska, Denada Avulliia (Kledja Sula 67), Matilda Tanushi (Denisa Qose 41), (Kjara Dine 67) Matilda Gjergii, Klea Hamonikaj, Ksenja Rizallaraj (Iris Armoku 32) Agila Iliadhi, Delma Muca (Kejsi Puca 67), Fabiola Caka, Mery Kalaja, Marinela Mema.
13 September: Ireland v Lithuania, (kick-off 4pm, Irish time), Stadium of Marijampole - Marijampole
16 September: Greece v Ireland, (kick-off 13:00, Irish time), SRC Alytus - Alytus