Kyra Carusa on scoring in ‘electric’ Aviva Stadium: ‘When that ball came off my foot for the back of the net, there is a sense of relief, of joy, of excitement’

Kyra Carusa celebrating in front of 36,000 fans in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday

Kyra Carusa celebrating in front of 36,000 fans in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

Macdara Ferris reports from the Aviva Stadium

It wasn’t till the 70th minute that the Girls in Green put the game beyond Northern Ireland at Saturday’s historic UEFA Nations League game on Lansdowne Road.

It was centre forward Kyra Carusa who exploited a mix up at the back to put the home side 2-0 up. The goal was a reward for her tireless work throughout the game and gave her the chance to celebrate scoring in front of 36,000 fans.

So what was that experience like? “Woah. It is electric. I'll tell you that. You should do it some time! As a forward you job is to put the ball in the back of the net.

"Scoring, making opportunities but more importantly for us now is we need the ball in the back of the net more than ever.

"To know that when that ball came off my foot and that it is going in the back of the net of course there is a sense of relief, of joy, of excitement.

“As a forward you want to be on the scoresheet and put the ball in the back of the net but I think to it was nice to know a lot of the off the ball work led to so much positivity in our creation and our attack.

"We reaped the reward of that by putting the ball in the back of the net in front of an historic crowd. It was very cool.”

Northern Ireland Rebecca Holloway should have cleared the ball away when facing her own goal and keeper Shannon Turner who had raced off her line but the defender’s touch only allowed Carusa to run onto the ball with the Ireland striker calmly slotting it home from outside the box into the empty goal.

“When Katie (McCabe) played that ball over the top, I immediately was thinking ok it is going to be a long run if I'm running this down to the goal.

"I was thinking of a defender and a goalkeeper never want to meet like that in the middle of the pitch. As a forward you are sniffing for an opportunity, hunting that ball down and you are waiting for that little moment for you to pounce on it.

"The minute they came to it, I knew that ball was going to bounce out for me and it fell well. I'm happy to be there to clean up.

“I always say that playing at home is like playing with a 12th man on the pitch. You literally feel the supporters and I know the opposing team always fear the supporters as well. It is something special about playing at home.”

Post World Cup Carusa signed for her home town club San Diego Wave FC as a free agent having left London City Lionesses.

The 27-year-old, who started all three matches for the Girls in Green in Australia, said her club have been very supportive to her.

“It has been a whirlwind post World Cup signing with a new team, stepping into a very competitive programme with a competitive front line.

“San Diego was incredibly professional with me coming back(from the World Cup) understanding the mental, physical and emotional drain of a tournament like that. I'm very thankful to the club.

"I think the environment has only made me a better player.”