Vera Pauw praised her “special group'” of players as the Republic of Ireland claimed a FIFA World Cup play-off spot for the first time in their history. Pauw’s team dug deep and never stopped running to earn three points off a tough Finland side in front of a record-breaking 6,952 spectators in Dublin.
After their first game against Georgia was postponed in September, Ireland opened their long-awaited FIFAWWC qualification campaign to Sweden on a chilly October night in Tallaght, Dublin. The home side put on a strong defensive display against the Olympic silver medallists and second ranked team in the world, but ultimately fell to a 1-0 defeat due to an unfortunate own goal from Louise Quinn.
Women’s football is at an inflection point in the Republic of Ireland. With big sponsorship deals, an enthralling national league and players making names for themselves on the biggest stages, it is a highly exciting time for all involved.