David Wilson reports from Tallaght Stadium
The Republic of Ireland women’s team bounced back from a poor home draw against Slovakia last week by defeating Georgia by a record winning margin with an 11-0 victory on a wet and windy night in Tallaght.
The home crowd of 3,523 braved the conditions and expected goals and it was goals that they got.
There was a perfect start for Ireland as a Katie McCabe cross from the left was inadvertently diverted into her own net after just four minutes by Maiko Bebia.
McCabe tried her luck a couple more times but the Georgian ‘keeper Teona Sukashvili was up to the task and batted away the Arsenal midfielder’s efforts.
Ireland lined up in a 3-4-2-1 formation, as the back three of Diane Caldwell, Niamh Fahey and Louise Quinn found themselves with plenty of the ball.
Shelbourne title-winner Jessica Ziu played on the right side of midfield in her first senior start, and was bright, showing composure and creativity.
Set pieces were an area that Vera Pauw knew that her side could seek an advantage from as they were more physical than their Georgian counterparts.
This paid off in the 20th minute as Ireland doubled their lead. McCabe took an out swinging corner which was met by the head of Louise Quinn at the back post.
The Birmingham City centre half directed her header towards goal where poacher Kyra Carusa took up a position in front of the goalkeeper to flick the ball into the net for her first international goal.
Denise O’Sullivan and Lucy Quinn continued to get into the half spaces beyond the Georgian midfield, Megan Connolly and Ruesha Littlejohn provided a platform for the front five to cause problems.
O’Sullivan was a constant thorn in the side of the Georgians. While Georgia were down to ten players due to Nino Pasikashvili suffering an injury, Ireland stroked the ball around their back three. Suddenly O’Sullivan found herself between the lines on the end of a crisp pass from Caldwell. O’Sullivan got on the half turn and found McCabe down the left who whipped a low cross right across the face of goal to where Lucy Quinn was on hand to finish low beyond Sukashvili for the third goal.
Carusa and Connolly both went close before the halftime whistle but then came the fourth for Ireland.
O’Sullivan who had been at the heart of all the good Irish play got on the end of a Littlejohn cross to grab a deserved goal and with that referee Jurgita Macikunyte blew the halftime whistle.
The Irish onslaught continued in the second half, with ‘keeper Sukashvili pulling off two world class saves. The first from McCabe from point blank range, the second a magnificent long ranger from O’Sullivan.
The second goal for O’Sullivan came two minutes before the hour mark. Fahey and Ziu combined with the ball landing to the feet of the Corkonian once more who took one touch and hammered it into the far top corner. An outstanding goal.
The hattrick came just four minutes later. McCabe picked up the ball on the left and feathered a delightful cross right onto the head of O’Sullivan who powered her header into the top corner. Six up for Ireland.
It was seven in the 70th minute after McCabe swept home a penalty. It also resulted in a very harsh second yellow card for Bebia, who was struck by a Fahey shot from just a yard away. It was turning into a miserable night for the Georgians.
Three minutes later it was eight. Ziu who provided fantastic width down the right-hand side found McCabe in the inside right position who swivelled and turned before unleashing a rasping shot which skidded off the wet Tallaght turf.
In the 81st minute ‘keeper Sukashvili made another wonderful save from McCabe as Ireland chased their record win of 9-0.
The ninth came courtesy of Cork once more, substitute Saoirse Noonan tapping home after a Connolly header was saved.
After the ninth goal the home crowd bayed for the tenth. It came in the 89th minute after being played through, Amber Barrett thundered her finish home from eight yards out. Barrett hit the Cristiano Ronaldo inspired ‘SUIII’ with her celebration. 10-0.
It got worse for the away side as a floated Connolly delivery from the left evaded everybody to make it 11-0, yes eleven.
Ireland travel to Sweden in their next game next April which will be a much sterner test than they faced tonight.
Republic of Ireland Women: Courtney Brosnan (GK); Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Diane Caldwell; Jessica Ziu (Amber Barrett 75), Ruesha Littlejohn (Ciara Grant 67), Megan Connolly, Katie McCabe (C); Lucy Quinn (Roma McLaughlin 67), Denise O'Sullivan; Kyra Carusa (Saoirse Noonan 75)
Subs not used: Grace Moloney (GK), Megan Walsh (GK), Savannah McCarthy, Isabeal Atkinson, Aine O’Gorman, Jamie Finn, Niamh Farrelly, Emily Whelan, Eabha O’Mahony.
Georgia Women: Teona Sukashvili (GK); Mariam Kalanadze, Nino Sutidze, Tamari Tatuashvili, Irina Khaburdzania (Anastasia Bolkvadze h/t); Nino Pasikashvili (Ani Dzadzua 41), Natia Daniela; Ana Cheminava (Mariami Hanikashvili 82), Natela Tsotseria (Nino Chkhartishvili 64), Maiko Bebia; Khatia Tchkonia (C)
Subs not used: Tatia Gabunia (GK), Teonia Bakradze, Mariam Danelia, Lizi Mtskerashvili.
Booked: Irina Khaburdzania (18), Maiko Bebia (41 + 69), Khatia Tchkonia (51)
Sent off: Maiko Bebia (69)
Referee: Jurgita Macikunyte (Lithuania)
extratime.com Player of the Match: Denise O’Sullivan (Republic of Ireland)