Date Time League Season
26 October 2021 4:15 pm Women's World Cup Qualification 2021

Match Report

Ireland Women deliver the goods in Finland

Ireland struck three points towards World Cup qualification this evening as they put a halt to Finland’s ten-game unbeaten run in Helsinki.

A Megan Connolly freekick was cancelled out by Adelina Engman early in the second half, but a poacher’s goal from Denise O’Sullivan ensured The Girls In Green came away from the match 2-1 victors.

In her last game as assistant coach, Eileen Gleeson got a send-off she won’t forget, as the triumph serves Ireland well in the opening exchanges in Group A with fixtures against Slovakia and Georgia still to come.

From the get go the visitors exerted every ounce of pressure possible, Jamie Finn and Katie McCabe, with O’Sullivan propelling forward in attack.

The first mark on the score-card came with just nine minutes surpassed, Connolly curling a ball into the top left corner of Finland’s net.

Aine O’Gorman put a stellar shift in at the back on her 100th appearance in the green shirt, as did Galway United’s Savannah McCarthy, Birmingham skipper Louise Quinn and Liverpool captain Niamh Fahey. The trio were major contenders throughout the nervy components of the game, they limited the Finns to only one concession.

That strike surfaced six minutes into the second half when Adelina Engman volleyed a cross delivered to her in Ireland’s box to beat Courtney Brosnan in net.

McCabe off the pitch receiving treatment when the incident occurred, the target marked Arsenal star was keen to impress when she returned.

Despite feeling like an eternity more, just minutes later Ireland equalised when O’Sullivan capitalised on a dropped ball by the home outfit’s keeper to head the ball into the back of the net from the far post.

An intensity ramp up followed as the hosts looked to regain a share of the spoils and Vera Pauw’s group attempted to retain their lead.

There were no signs of pulling back however, Rianna Jarret entering the fray for Lucy Quinn in the 74th minute.

Much like Ireland in the Sweden game, Finland gave their opposition everything they had in the closing quarter, but to Ireland’s delight it wasn’t enough to compromise the score-line.

  • 94'

    Ireland have won!

  • 94'

    The minutes have surpassed, just a Brosnan kick out to come

  • 93'

    Fahy again a brick wall their to keep Finland out, edgy times in Helsinki

  • 93'

    Ireland free kick out on the edge of their own box

  • 92'

    Niamh Fahy meets a cross in with her head but it comes back out to Finland. McCarthy then does the same

  • 91'

    Ireland knock the ball of Finland and it's a Brosnan goal kick with 3 and a half of the added time left

  • 90'

    4 added minutes shown by the fourth official

  • 89'

    Chance PAYNE! Runs the endline and gets a shot off but its out for a corner

  • 89'

    Savannah McCarthy and McCabe clear the ball away

  • 89'

    RTE award The Player of the Match accolade to Denise O'Sullivan

  • 88'

    Another substitution for Finland as their top scorer comes off

  • 86'

    A header from Finland sees Brosnan make another crucial save

  • 85'

    Brosnan out of position it's Niamh Fahy who scrambles the ball away off the line to keep Ireland's lead

  • 85'

    Finland roll on a sub as Sanio comes on, Oling makes way

  • 83'

    Brosnan gets a fist to the ball once again and has been a huge player given all the possession is down her side of the pitch in the last few minutes

  • 82'

    Brosnan plucks a cross out of the air to get Ireland the ball back

  • 78'

    The noise level in the stadium increasing with the momentum as the match progresses

  • 74'

    Rianna Jarret coming on for Lucy Quinn

  • 71'

    Yellow for Jamie Finn

  • 69'

    Freekick Ireland as a foul is called on Finn

  • 68'

    McCabe shoots from distance but it sails wide

  • 65'

    Brosnan picks up the ball after a shaky few minutes for Ireland

  • 62'

    McCabe's bullet is saved as Finland clear their lines

  • 59'

    Finland were in had it not been for Megan Connolly there! She's putting in a shift all over the pitch

  • 56'

    GOAL IRELAND! A mistake by the Finnish goalkeeper allows Denise O'Sullivan to capitalise off the drop and head the ball into the back of the net. Right place right time for her 13th international goal

  • 52'

    Katie McCabe back on the pitch just as another chance from Finland veers wide

  • 51'

    1-1! As McCabe was receiving treatment off the pitch a 10 woman Ireland concede after a cross into the box is met on the volley by Adelina Engman

  • 50'

    Katie McCabe down injured in some worrying scenes for Ireland as Vera Pauw looks on with concern

  • 47'

    Connolly picking up a knock there

  • 45'

    The second half has kicked off in Finland

  • 45'

    Brosnan almost cost a chance there as she's found off her line but the defensive line make up for the mishap

  • 45'

    1 minute of added time announced

  • 43'

    Finland were in there and Brosnan makes a save but its deemed offside after the fact

  • 41'

    Payne drives at the Finland defence and tries to play in O\'Sullivan but its out for an ireland corner

  • 37'

    McCabe launches a cross into the box and Finn gets a head to it but it's collected by the Finnish keeper

  • 35'

    O'Sullivan wins a free on the halfway line. Seems to have contracted a leg injury in the process

  • 32'

    Kuikka heads the ball just shy of Ireland\'s crossbar there and out for Brosnan to kick out

  • 32'

    Westerland to take this corner kick for Finland

  • 29'

    O'Sullivan draws the foul beside Ireland's own corner flag to get The Girls in Green out of a tricky spot

  • 28'

    Finland gaining some momentum in the last few minutes as Ireland try to gain possession back

  • 26'

    Finland freekick too far out to hit but it'll be crossed. Met with a header but the ball trickles wide

  • 25'

    Finland on the break as McCarthy chases down Finland's record goalscorer

  • 23'

    Ball trickles out and it's Brosnan's to play from a goal kick

  • 22'

    And the consequence is yet another Finish corner

  • 21'

    Kuikka sails that one over but referee says it's taken a touch off an Irish shirt and the ball is out for another corner

  • 21'

    McCabe covers well there in her defensive duties and forces a corner for the opposition

  • 17'

    McCabe involves O'Sullivan in her one, two and makes it into the box but can't quite get an effort towards goal

  • 16'

    Kick out for Brosnan

  • 15'

    Aine O'Gorman takes a throw in, its her 100th appearance for the Girls In Green today

  • 14'

    Ireland showing they can defend well too, putting a half to the Finish attacking strives in the last few moments

  • 10'

    Spot kick again for Ireland, McCabe takes but its dealt with

  • 9'

    Goal Connolly! You don't save those, she curls the ball into the top left corner to give Ireland the 1-0 lead

  • 8'

    Ball breaks to Ireland and while O\'Sullivan and Payne release efforts there\'s a free kick called instead. Right within Lucy Quinn, Megan Connolly and Katie McCabe\'s range

  • 7'

    Louise Quinn gets a touch to it but it's cleared off the line by Finland. Another corner from Ireland results after an initial clearance

  • 6'

    Corner to Ireland as Ireland's sustained pressure has Finland under the pin early on in Helsinki. Katie McCabe to take

  • 4'

    O'Sullivan pings one into the box and it finds Jamie Finn who swings the ball out to O'Gorman for a shot. Finland clear

  • 2'

    First chance of the game, Finlands attempt nearly hops over Brosnan but loops out over the endline instead

  • Underway!

  • Speaking on the upcoming outing, striker Lucy Quinn is optimistic that the lessons learned will stand them in good stead this time around. “I think we could have got more out of the Sweden game but that’s the way it is. Hopefully now it will be a big confidence boost for the whole squad” she says. “It has only made us more hungry to go out and get three points the next game.” “It’s my first time travelling with the squad and obviously it’s a massive occasion. We’re all really up for it and personally I don’t want to come home empty handed at all.”

  • The matchday squad whittled down to 23 before taking to the plane however, there were some people to miss out on the trip. Amanda Budden, Éabha O'Mahony, Harriet Scott and Jessica Ziu amongst those, they will have to cheer their teammates on from home.

  • A sigh of relief was signalled from the camp in the run up when Denise O'Sullivan was cleared to travel after her suspected arm injury which she had picked up against the Swedes turned out to be less serious than first anticipated.

  • The home side are placed 25th in FIFA’s World rankings, eight spots higher than that of Ireland’s 33rd position. Acclimatised to facing intense opposition at this point however, the Girls in Green will put all of that aside coming into this fixture.

  • There Louise Quinn’s own goal was the only strike of the night, an impressive result given Sweden’s formidable reputation.

  • Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Sweden still fresh in their rear view mirrors, Vera Pauw’s outfit will be hoping to bounce back with a win today in order to keep their dreams of a first major tournament qualification alive.

  • The Republic of Ireland grace Helsinki this evening to take on Finland in the second of their 2023 FIFA Women\'s World Cup Qualifiers. The game, brought to you here by Alanna Cunnane and kicks off at 4:15pm Irish time, live on RTÉ2.


1Courtney Brosnan Goalkeeper
3Savannah McCarthy Midfielder
4Louise Quinn Defender
5Niamh Fahey Defender
6Megan Connolly Midfielder 9'
10Denise O’Sullivan Midfielder 56'
11Katie McCabe Midfielder
13Aine O’Gorman Forward
14Heather Payne Forward
15Lucy Quinn 12 Forward
17Jamie Finn Midfielder 71'
23Eve Badana Goalkeeper
18Niamh Farrelly Defender
7Diane Caldwell Defender
9Amber Barrett Forward
8Leanne Kiernan Forward
22Roma McLaughlin Midfielder
20Saoirse Noonan Forward
19Ciara Grant Midfielder
21Aoibheann Clancy Midfielder
2Claire Walsh Defender
12Rianna Jarrett 15 Forward


Helsinki Olympic Stadium
Helsinki Olympic Stadium, 1, Paavo Nurmen tie, Taka-Töölö, Southern major district, Helsinki, Helsinki sub-region, Uusimaa, Southern Finland, Mainland Finland, 00250, Finland

Alanna is currently pursuing her studies in journalism at Dublin City University and writes regularly for her local media outlets in Sligo.