Longford's Melissa O'Kane (wearing 12, left on front row) and the Republic of Ireland Women's Under-19 side who defeated Portugal in a friendly
A sweet strike from Teegan Lynch helped the Republic of Ireland Women's Under-19s, featuring Longford's Melissa O'Kane, claim a 1-0 victory over Portugal in an International Friendly in Lisbon.
Republic of Ireland WU19..... 1
With the sun beating down at the Portuguese FA headquarters, it was the team wearing green who looked the more comfortable by making smart decisions in possession and covering space off the ball.
Obviously inspired by the wonderful achievements of fellow Ardagh parishioner Cian McPhillips on the athletics track, Melissa O’Kane is another rising young star who is currently a member of the Republic of Ireland Women’s U-19 soccer squad.
Head Coach Dave Connell freshened his team up by making 11 changes from the side that started the narrow 2-1 loss to Norway last Thursday in the first of three games in a mini tournament.
Several of the new faces impressed, including goalkeeper Savanna Duffy who was making her first start for the team, while the centre-back partnership of Jenna Slattery and Abby Tuthill were up for this one.
Slattery, who has been sensational of late for Treaty United in the SSE Airtricity Women's National League, won aerial challenges, broke up play and made vital clearances as Portugal threw everything at Ireland early on.
With no breakthrough in sight, Portugal made four changes after the interval but Slattery showed no signs of tiredness as she kept on repelling their every attack.
Ireland were not under pressure for the whole game though and typical of a team coached by Connell they were able to use the transitions and build play to get them higher up the pitch.
One such play came on 52 minutes when Nicole McNamara and Emily Corbet combined to win a free-kick on the left, swung the ball into the penalty area but it was just too high for Slattery as Tuthill dragged defenders away from her with a clever run.
The goal came shortly after that with Lynch dispossesses Portugal defender Ana Cruz just outside the box, controlling the ball and managing to hold off Cruz and Joana Prazeres before finishing with her right foot into the bottom corner of the net.
Portugal attempted to fight back but they could not break through as Duffy made some crucial saves and the late substitutes made by Ireland gave them some energy and stability at the right time.
Next up is a game against Denmark on Monday. Note this one down as an impressive, resilient performance.
Republic of Ireland: Duffy; O'Kane, Slattery (D Doherty 77), Tuthill (Devaney 77), O'Sullivan; Lynch (Brennan 77), Reynolds (Mangan 90), Slevin (Kinnevey 77), McNamara, Corbet (Watkins 67); E Doherty (McLaughlin 67).
Portugal: Esgueriao; Prazeres, Rodrigues, J Silva, Cruz; Oliveira, Dantas, Caiado, Jaleco; M Silva, Malta.
Referee: Teresa Oliveria (Portugal).
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