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Slovakia v Ireland: Player ratings as Denise O’Sullivan’s goal secures win

Ireland player ratings v slovakia

An important win for Ireland.

Ireland have sealed their place in the second-round of the Uefa leg of the World Cup playoffs on Tuesday evening, with a 1-0 win away to Slovakia.

Denise O’Sullivan’s goal was enough to seal the deal for Vera Pauw’s side, with the Girls in Green set to learn their playoff opponents later this week.

However, it was far from a vintage Irish performance against a side that lacked a cutting edge up front. Here is how we rated Ireland’s players against Slovakia.

Ireland player ratings v slovakia

Slovakia v Ireland: Player ratings as Vera Pauw’s side take a big step towards World Cup qualification.

Courtney Brosnan – 7

Very little to do against a side that had a distinct lack of a potent attack in their arsenal. Made an important save or two when called upon as Ireland claimed another clean sheet on the road.

Claire O’Riordan – 6

Making her first competitive start since June 2018, O’Riordan played on the right of Ireland’s back-three alongside Louise Quinn and Diane Caldwell.

The Celtic defender was part of an Ireland defence that rarely looked in danger, with their experience coming to the fore as the midfield struggled on occasion.

Had a goalbound effort blocked by a desperate Slovakian defender – as she was denied a goalscoring return to the fold.

Louise Quinn – 6

Typically composed performance from Quinn on a day when she needed to be at her best as Ireland took a huge step towards World Cup qualification.

Caused problems in from attacking set-pieces too, and may have grabbed an assist if Caldwell was able to steer home Quinn’s knockdown in the first-half.

Diane Caldwell – 6

Making her 90th senior international appearance for the Girls in Green, Caldwell ought to have given Ireland a 33rd minute lead, but the former Manchester United defender was unable to steer her effort home.

Was composed in defence, and was rarely put in danger by a blunt Slovakian side. Made an important clearance from a Slovakian corner-kick during a rare venture forward from the hosts.

Harriet Scott – 6

Similarly to O’Riordan, Scott made her long-awaited competitive return to an Ireland starting XI, playing as a right-back for the game.

Started well, but did not have an awful lot to do in a defensive setting against a relatively poor opponent. Still looked at home however, and produced a performance that she can be pleased with. Was replaced by Ellen Molloy in the 68th minute of the game.

Denise O’Sullivan – 8

Once again proved her class when scoring Ireland’s opener, after latching onto Heather Payne’s ball into the penalty area.

Was also a driving forward in the Ireland midfield, as she was allowed the freedom to push forward with the presence of Agg beside her.

Provided an incisive edge to Ireland during a low-key second-half between the two sides, and may have grabbed an assist herself, but for some alert goalkeeping by the Slovakian netminder.

Lily Agg – 6

Making her first competitive start for the Girls in Green after a remarkable rise, Agg slotted into a midfield two alongside Denise O’Sullivan.

Playing as the deeper of the two, Agg was rarely caught out in possession during a controlled, yet edgy showing from Vera Pauw’s side.

Megan Campbell – 6

Similarly to Ireland’s win against Finland on Thursday night, Campbell slotted into a similar position, with her long throw-ins continuing to be a real threat.

Ireland

Quiet enough in the second-half, but will be pleased that she was able to help Ireland secure a clean sheet.

Jess Ziu – 8

Went on a superb driving run to open the play for Ireland’s opener against the Slovaks, feeding in Heather Payne who found O’Sullivan to break the deadlock.

Was a real bright spark when she got on the ball in the first-half, with the West Ham youngster showing why the Irons have taken a chance on her exciting talents and quality.

Katie McCabe – 7

Struggled to get into the game early on, although much of that was down to Slovakia’s physical approach on the Arsenal winger.

Grew into the game as the first-half wore on, and had Ireland’s first shot on goal of the game. Became more and more influential as the game went on, and almost helped Ireland grab an opener through a set-piece routine.

Went close herself on the hour mark, but her volley on the edge of the penalty area just dropped wide of the Slovakian goal.

Far from her best performance, but was still a class apart the rest when able to get on the ball without being fouled.

Heather Payne – 8

A tireless runner, Payne’s willingness to run and work hard proved to be key for Ireland’s opener, with her drag-back finding O’Sullivan to give the Girls in Green a lead.

Worked hard all night for the visitors, as she proved her worth in spades to this ever-improving Ireland side under their Dutch boss. Was replaced by Leanne Kiernan late on in the game.

Ireland v Slovakia Player ratings

Substitutes: Ireland player ratings v Slovakia.

Ellen Molloy – 6

Came on for Scott in the latter stages of the second-half. Pressed well as Ireland held out for an important win as their World Cup playoff dream took shape in Slovakia.

Leanne Kiernan – n/a

Not on long enough to rate.

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