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Ireland Player Ratings As Denise O'Sullivan Goal Hands Team Crucial Win In Slovakia

Ireland Player Ratings As Denise O'Sullivan Goal Hands Team Crucial Win In Slovakia
By Gary Connaughton Updated

Gary Connaughton reporting from Senec, Slovakia

Job done for Ireland.

Vera Pauw's side came to Slovakia knowing that three points would be enough to secure a bye in the first round of the World Cup play-offs, meaning this was a massive game regardless of the fact that second place was already wrapped up.

It was a frustrating game at times, with Ireland feeling like they should have done better in forward areas. Some heavy tackling from the hosts also didn't help matters.

However, a brilliant team goal finished off Denise O'Sullivan was enough to earn the victory and hand the team the best opportunity of reaching next year's World Cup finals.

Here's how we rated the performances on the night

Ireland player ratings vs Slovakia

Courtney Brosnan - 7

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Apart from sweeping up one or two overplayed passes in behind and making one routine save, Brosnan had little to do in the opening period.

That didn't change in the second half, although she did claim a couple of high balls into the penalty area when called upon.

 

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Claire O'Riordan - 7

6 September 2022; Claire O'Riordan during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 Qualifier match between Slovakia and Republic of Ireland at National Training Centre in Senec, Slovakia. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Making her first competitive start in over four years, O'Riordan had little defensive work to do on the right of the back three in the first half.

That continued after the break, with the defender having a shot of her own cleared off the line that would have extended Ireland's lead in the closing stages.

 

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Louise Quinn - 7

Louise Quinn looked like a constant threat in the opposition box from set-pieces, causing a number of problems for the Slovakians.

In truth, it was a rather comfortable night for the Birmingham City player who acted as the organiser at the back.

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Diane Caldwell - 8

Winning her 90th international cap, Caldwell was asked few questions defensively prior to the interval. She did have a golden opportunity to open the scoring for Ireland just after the half hour mark, although her snap shot inside a crowded penalty area drifted just wide.

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Her passing from the back was also impressive, picking out some nice switches of play at times. Her main defensive contribution came with an impressive intervention at the back post to keep Slovakia out in the second half.

 

Harriet Scott - 7

Operating at right wingback, Scott would have hoped to be more involved in Ireland's forward play with overlapping runs in the first half. However, she was very solid defensively and offered little encouragement to the Slovakians.

Making her her first start in almost two years, she was replaced by Ellen Molloy with just over 20 minutes to go.

 

Denise O'Sullivan - 9

6 September 2022; Denise O'Sullivan celebrates with teammates after scoring their side's first goal in the match between Slovakia and Republic of Ireland in Senec, Slovakia. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Was full of energy right from the off, pressing Slovakia and looking to turn over possession in the final third. O'Sullivan was the one who attempted to get Ireland going both in and out of possession in the first half, although things didn't seem to be breaking for the team in and around the box.

However, things would finally fall her way ten minutes before half time, swivelling expertly in the box to tuck away the opener.

Her second half display was not as influential in attack, but she certainly wasn't found wanting in the tackle as Ireland held onto the lead. An absolutely brilliant performance from the Cork woman.

 

Lily Agg - 6

In contrast to her display against Finland, Agg was quite sloppy in possession during the opening exchanges. The midfielder struggled to affect the game in an attacking sense, although she was still strong in breaking up opposition attacks.

She certainly played her part, although Agg would have hoped to follow up her strong showing last week with another one here in order to put her hand up for selection for the play-off.

 

Megan Campbell - 8

Campbell's throw-ins proved to be a huge weapon once again, causing trouble for the Slovakian defence on a couple of occasions inside the opening 10 minutes.

The Liverpool player also showed an excellent eye for a pass, picking out some lovely long range balls in behind. She also defended well down the left flank, especially in the closing stages as Ireland saw out the game.

 

Jess Ziu - 7

Swapping flanks with Katie McCabe throughout the first half, Ziu made a couple of promising runs only for her final ball to let here down. She did make amends for that with the opening goal, playing the clever pass that set Ireland in behind.

The 20-year old picked up her performance from that point, eventually moving into the right wingback position for the final 20 minutes.

 

Katie McCabe - 8

6 September 2022; Katie McCabe has a shot on goal during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 Qualifier match between Slovakia and Republic of Ireland at National Training Centre in Senec, Slovakia. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Katie McCabe was clearly being targeted by the Slovakian players, being the subject of a couple of poor challenges in the opening period. She responded to that with some aggression of her own, overturning the ball brilliantly on a few occasions.

The Arsenal player made some brilliant runs down the left flank before whipping in very dangerous crosses, although they were unfortunate not to find a teammate. She also came close to an exquisite goal of her own, but her looping volley from just outside the box would go just beyond the far post.

Another real captain's performance.

 

Heather Payne - 7

Payne was a willing runner up front, especially on the counterattack. It was her run in behind that allowed her to provide the assist for O'Sullivan's opener.

Not much fell her way in terms of chances, but it was a typically industrious performance from the Florida State player.

 

Substitutes

Ellen Molloy - 7

Brought on for the final 20 minutes or so in a left wing role, the 18-year old's responsibilities were mainly reduced to defensive ones as Slovakia pushed for the equaliser late on. She looked more than comfortable with that role, forcing a couple of impressive turnovers.

 

Leanne Kiernan - N/A

Not on long enough to rate.

 

SEE ALSO: Remembering Dida's Ridiculous Antics At Celtic Park In 2007


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