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Ireland’s attempt to qualify for the 2019 Women’s World Cup ended on a high note on Friday.

Though Ireland were unable to qualify for the tournament after three straight defeats in Group C, a thumping win over Northern Ireland was a great way to sign off.

Colin Bell’s side were in total control from start to finish at Tallaght Stadium.

Leanne Kiernan is just 19, but the forward is already causing excitement at both club West Ham and at international level.

She opened the scoring with a fantastic lob over ‘keeper Jacqueline Burns after just three minutes.

Captain Katie McCabe doubled Ireland’s lead eleven minutes in, firing home after Rianna Jarrett calmly set her up from a rebound.

Northern Ireland were up against it throughout, with Kerry Montgomery in particular lucky to stay on the pitch in attempting to defend against the onslaught.

The hosts’ lead at half time was three, with Kiernan adding her second following some good passing and movement with Cork’s Denise O’Sullivan.

The visitors had gone a half hour without conceding when Harriet Scott was brought down in their box just before the hour mark. Though Kiernan was on a hat-trick, McCabe stepped up to grab her own brace from the penalty spot.

Ireland were grossly unlucky not to add to their tally, with the post denying Kiernan her third goal late on.

The win leaves Ireland third in Group C on 13 points after playing all eight games, ten ahead of tonight’s opponents. However, Norway are in second on 15 points with two games still to play.

Netherlands top the group on 19 points, and their clash with Norway on Tuesday will determine who tops the group and secures automatic qualification, and who enters the play-off.

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