UEFA Nations League Report: Hungary 0 - 4 Republic of Ireland
Katie McCabe’s first-half wonderstrike propelled the Republic of Ireland to a straightforward win over Hungary.
Eileen Gleeson’s side began their Nations League campaign on Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.
And while there were far less supporters in Budapest for their tie against the Magyars – the Girls in Green won out with just as much ease as they did in Dublin.
Lily Agg came into the Ireland starting XI for their test in Budapest as boss Gleeson opted to keep faith with the side that eased past neighbours Northern Ireland.
But it was the class and expertise of star duo McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan that proved to be the winning of the game for the visitors.
The Arsenal winger scored one and assisted another in the first half to ultimately see Ireland through.
And O’Sullivan – brushing off a knock picked up against Northern Ireland on Saturday – capped off a fine midfield display in the second half with a 70th minute goal.
The Girls in Green took the lead inside just 18 minutes when Celtic defender Caitlin Hayes nodded home from close range.
McCabe’s wicked cross from deep found the head of the Hoops defender to score with ease.
But it was McCabe’s long-range strike that stole the show during the first-half.
Excelling in a free role in the middle of the park, the Tallaght star pounced on some indecision in the Hungarian midfield to dispossess the hosts.
And upon winning the ball, McCabe rifled a sizzling effort into the top corner to put the Girls in Green in control just before the interval.
As the second half wore on, O’Sullivan’s influence on the game grew – but she had to wait to find the net.
But Ireland did not have to wait very long in the second half to score their third, which arrived in the 48th minute.
Recent Everton recruit Heather Payne latched onto the ball on the right flank following McCabe’s pass – and her cross found the head of Kyra Carusa.
Carusa – who also scored against Northern Ireland on Saturday – flung herself at the ball to find the net and ensure Ireland would leave Budapest with the three points.
However, O’Sullivan scored perhaps the best of Ireland’s bunch during the second period with just 20 minutes left on the clock.
In a flowing team move, Megan Connolly played Carusa in on the right hand side with a deft pass.
The San Diego Wave attacker then pulled the ball back for O’Sullivan to sweep into the back of the net.
And while Hungary did have chances as the game petered out somewhat, Ireland were rarely at risk of conceding.
The victory leaves Ireland top of their Nations League group – and they are on course to secure promotion to League A at the end of the campaign.
The Girls in Green will face Albania twice next month on October 27th and 31st – both home and away.
And they will conclude their campaign with games against Hungary at home and Northern Ireland away in December.
Hungary: Réka Szőcs; Laura Kovács, Laura Palakovics (Boglárka Vida 46), Lilla Turanyi; Evelin Fenyvesi (Csilla Savanya 72), Hanna Nemeth (Emőke Pápai 46), Luca Papp, Dora Sule (Fanni Vachter 46), Viktória Szabó, Dóra Zeller; Zsanett Kaján (Virág Nagy 90).
Subs not used: Anna Terestyényi, Ágnes Pongrácz, Fanni Nagy, Diána Csányi, Loretta Németh, Glória Siber, Cintia Mónika Öreg.
Booked: Laura Kovács (12), Luca Papp (83).
Republic of Ireland: Courtney Brosnan; Diane Caldwell, Caitlin Hayes, Louise Quinn; Lily Agg (Megan Connolly 55), Katie McCabe, Denise O'Sullivan, Heather Payne (Abbie Larkin 55), Lucy Quinn (Izzy Atkinson 46), Tyler Toland (Jamie Finn 78); Kyra Carusa (Amber Barrett 74).
Subs not used: Grace Moloney, Megan Walsh, Chloe Mustaki, Hayley Nolan, Claire O'Riordan, Emily Whelan, Saoirse Noonan.
Booked: Caitlin Hayes (76), Megan Connolly (85).
extratime.com Player of the Match: Katie McCabe (Republic of Ireland).