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Vera Pauw Shares Touching Moment With Tony O'Donoghue After Ireland Qualify For World Cup

Vera Pauw Shares Touching Moment With Tony O'Donoghue After Ireland Qualify For World Cup
By Donny Mahoney
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It was one of the most emotional nights we can remember in recent Irish sporting history. Ireland have reached the Women's World Cup for the first time.

There was an outpouring of emotion after the final whistle. It was a potent mix. It's just been five years since this Irish team threatened a strike due to being treated as 'fifth-class citizens' and changing for training in public toilets. It's been a long and arduous journey for Ireland's women footballers to bring respect to the game.

There was Amber Barrett's incredibly moving tribute to the victims of Creeslough. The nation has been shrouded in grief all week and Barrett's goal seemed written in the stars. Her tribute and post-match interview made her an instant icon.

And then there was manager Vera Pauw.

Vera Pauw - one of us

The Dutch woman took over as Ireland manager back in 2019. There were some rough days but Pauw has instilled this team with grit and savvy and she admitted after the match to Tony O'Donoghue of RTÉ, Ireland may not have been the better team tonight, but they wanted it more.

"The saved penalty of Courtney was not luck. We knew where it was coming. We trained it. We were ready for every scenario. The way we executed was not beautiful and we need to work a lot but our game plan was ... successful."

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Pauw's introduction of Amber Barrett for Heather Payne also looks like a stroke of genius. She revealed that Barrett promised her a goal when she was sent on. Pauw's squad was severely depleted for this fixture but Ireland's plan was so good, and their determination so intense, that they found a way.

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Pauw was incredibly emotional after the game. She was not only thinking about the result. Back in the summer, she revealed that she had been the victim of rape and sexual abuse by  members of the Dutch FA when she was a player. It was an incredibly brave thing to share with the world, and it was notable that when she released the statement, she profusely thanked both the FAI and the Irish team for their support.

A teary Pauw again thanked everyone in Irish football who supported her tonight.

 

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Pauw did not let the interview end without gifting Tony O'Donoghue a signed Ireland jersey for his support. It's a sign of her generous spirit.

She has taught her team so much, but it's clear as well that she's one of us.

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