Women's football has flourished in the Republic of Ireland under the guidance of Noel King, who was appointed manager of the Ireland Women’s senior team in 2000. He almost made the breakthrough with the senior side only to see his charges fall just short of a place in the UEFA Women's EURO 2009. However, that disappointment was tempered last year as the Under-17's went on to qualify for the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship, the country's first major female tournament.
The U-17s topped both of their pre-tournament qualifying groups en route to their first ever championship final appearance, winning five games and drawing one, although the team were forced to come from a goal down to beat Sweden in Ukraine to seal their place in the semi-finals. A 1-0 victory over Germany ensued but they were eventually pipped to the title by Spain, who claimed the crown with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out win in the final with the game having finished goalless at the end of extra time.
The Republic of Ireland will say goodbye to their inspirational coach after the tournament, with former Derry City player-manager King having recently been confirmed as the new head coach of the Republic's Under-21 men's team. The senior women’s side made significant progress under his guidance, with a second-place finish at the UEFA European Championships the obvious highlight. "I have been involved with the women's squads for ten years and I have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to help develop women's football in Ireland,” said King. Women's U-19 manager Sue Ronan will take temporary charge of the team while the association advertise the position.
Fact and Figures
Dora Gorman, Ciara Grant, Grace Moloney
The Republic of Ireland won 6 of their 8 matches en route to qualification, losing just once. They scored 16 goals and conceded three along the way.
The numbers game
4 – the number of goals scored by Denise O'Sullivan during the qualifying campaign.
|2||Ciara O BRIEN|
|10||Denise O SULLIVAN|