Eileen Gleeson: ‘There is progression but now we need the result’

Eileen Gleeson and Stephen Rice

Eileen Gleeson and Stephen Rice Credit: Eddie Lennon (ETPhotos)

Macdara Ferris reports from the Aviva Stadium

While in last Friday’s match in Metz against France, Ireland didn’t really challenge Herve Renard’s team in the 1-0 loss,  it was a different story at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday. 

Yes, it was another defeat – this time 2-0 against Sarina Wiegman's star studded  England side – but Ireland Head Coach Eileen Gleeson was happy with how her team took the game to the Lionesses in the second half.

Speaking after the match, Gleeson spoke about the balance that her team needs to have when playing such high quality opposition. “We know we want to be higher up that pitch, we know we want to be super aggressive,” said Gleeson. 

“We need to find out can we do that for 90 minutes against teams of this quality. We’re going to have to try to control the game and manage it and stay in it for as long as we can. I thought the girls were tremendous in the second half – a lot of energy. I think we put them to the test at some points.

“It’s more how are we going to control the first part of the game so that we’re in a position to come out and have a go in the later part of the game. Do we start like that and then we can’t sustain it in the second half when your legs are gone a bit? We'd all love to be going at that full tilt for 90 minutes but would we sustain it?”

The result means Ireland remain without a win over England from now nine encounters and have still just the one goal scored against the Three Lions and that came in the very first women’s match the two sides played which was back in 1978.

Ireland’s second half pressure, particulary in the last 30 minutes when chances fell Caitlin Hayes’ and Katie McCabe’s way, meant they can feel unlucky not to have found the back of the net.

"Unfortunately we didn't get the goal, we didn't get the result. At our core we're disappointed but as a second-half performance and as a way of learning, we're happy. Leanne (Kiernan) comes off the bench and she gives us a good running option.

"We try to affect the changes like that – really energetic, really aggressive, you see Caitlin came much more into it. Go on, be brave, push Aoife (Mannion) up and you play a bit higher. I think that’s what we did in the second half.”

Next up for the Girls in Green will be a double header home and away against Sweden – who lost 1-0 to France on Tuesday night. “We’ve played second and third best in the world in three days. It’s tough physically but it’s tough mentally. We’ve been trying to manage that in the camp and try and manage the load of it all. 

“In terms of preparing them for Sweden, we do a lot with individuals. We’ll do a debrief with individuals in between the camps and then we’ll have our approach ready for Sweden when the squad is finalised then. It’s trying to use the in-between time as valuable without overloading them at their clubs. It’s difficult. 

“You get ten days, probably four training sessions, where everybody is involved. You have to embed a lot, and you are facing the toughest opposition in the world. I think the girls are up for it, in their core they want to go for things like this. We are learning all the time.

"There is progression but now we need the result.”