The Republic of Ireland managed to break down a supremely disciplined Canadian outfit, getting themselves right back in the running for a place in the quarter-finals with one match to go in the group stages. After a goalless opening period in the Group D match at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima, a stunning long-range effort from Siobhan Killeen sealed the 1-0 win for the Irish, a result which throws the section wide open.
The Irish came out all guns blazing with Jennifer Byrne’s header from a corner-kick in the third minute cleared off the line by a desperate lunge. Dora Gorman then took control of the contest and pushed the girls in green forward, but they were unable to create any chances of consequence with the sturdy Canadian defenders scrambling and scrapping to keep it tight at the back.
There were 20 minutes on the clock before the Canadians managed their first real attack. Caroline Beaulne raced forward and fed the ball to Haisha Cantave, scorer of the lone Canuck goal in their win over Ghana and a girl in confident mood. But the brawny defender saw her try denied by the outstanding Irish goalkeeper Grace Maloney. Aileen Gilroy had another chance for Ireland as the half ground to a close, but her try sailed over the crossbar and both sides headed into the changing rooms with no goals to show for 45 minutes of honest endeavour.
The second half began with the Irish girls hunting a goal and Canada keen to sit back and make the occasional break. Cantave wound her way through again in the 47th minute, but Jennifer Byrne dealt with the danger easily and cleared the ball away. The Irish really pushed everything forward into attack at that point, eager to get their first three-point haul of T&T 2010 and keep their campaign alive. Gorman, Killeen and Megan Campbell all had shots saved by the high-flying Canadian goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo between the 53rd and 57th minutes.
Eventually, in the 76th minute, the Irish carved a real breakthrough and got the goal their positive play deserved. Killeen, scorer of a peach of a goal against Brazil, wound up and fired a cracker from outside the area that caught D’Angelo out of position for once. But there was a still a little drama left before the Irish were able to seal the win. Alexandra Courtnall broke through the defence and forced Maloney into a magnificent reflex save to make sure of all three points for the European competitors.
Group D will be wide open on the final matchday as Ghana's 1-0 win over Brazil later in the evening means that all three teams in the section are balanced on three points.