A late winner from Melanie Leupolz denied Sue Ronan’s Republic of Ireland women’s team what would have been a famous draw with reigning European champions Germany at Tallaght Stadium. Despite the defeat, Ronan and her player’s will take great heart from what was a great display against one of the women’s game’s superpowers.
Ireland drew first blood with Louise Quinn rising high to glance home Megan Campbell’s long throw into the box to give her side a shock lead with just two minutes played.
Marozsan was in the thick of the action this flicking the ball into the path of Leupolz on the right flank. Leupolz pulled the ball back for Mittag who was adjudged to have been up-ended by Louise Quinn inside the box. Simone Laudehr stepped up to take the resultant spot-kick and made no mistake in drawing her side level by placing the ball in the top corner of Byrne’s goal. Republic of Ireland’s goalkeeper Emma Byrne dropped Melanie Leupolz’ cross after seeming to have been fouled by substitute Lena Lotzen who poked the ball into an empty net.
The game was to take another dramatic twist with just one minute of playing remaining. Again Ireland utilised a Megan Campbell throw-in to their advantage with the former Raheny United defender launching the ball into the box for Peamount star Stephanie Roche to prod the ball home. Just when Ireland thought they had sealed a hugely significant draw with Silvia Neid’s girls, the German’s stole all three points courtesy of a Leupolz cross which looped over the unfortunate Byrne’s head and into the back of the net.
As Ireland prepare for next month’s crunch tie at home to third placed Russia, Ronan’s charges will take much encouragement from a performance that saw them push the world’s second ranked team to the pin of their collar.