World University Games
Women’s 3rd/4th Place Play off
IRELAND 2 RUSSIA 2
(Russia won 4-2 on pens)
A heart breaking evening at the World University Games in Naples saw the Ireland women’s side just fail to get the better of Russia, going down 4-2 in a penalty shoot out, after their 3rd and 4th place play off game for the bronze medal ended in a 2-2 draw.
Ireland had got themselves into a comfortable position with 25 minutes remaining taking a 2-0 lead and looking well on the way to picking up that elusive medal but they were reeled in by a determined Russian outfit and found themselves facing a penalty shoot out for the second time at this tournament.
By JOHN HUDSON
Lauren Kelly put Ireland in front on 16 minutes when she was left with the simplest of tasks to steer the ball past goalkeeper Tatiana Shcherbak from close in after a great run and cut back by Eleanor Ryan Doyle to set up the chance.
The game looked almost settled midway into the second half when Kelly returned the favour to her teammate with an exquisite through pass that cut the Russian defence in half and Ryan-Doyle did well to slide in and poke the ball past Shcherbak.
Ryan-Doyle could have made it three just minutes later when she found herself clear on goal again but although the TU Dublin student’s finish did beat the goalkeeper it went wide of the post.
Russia responded to hit back and draw level with two goals in four minutes to rock the Irish.
The first arrived on 73 minutes with Sofiia Shishkina beating Amanda McQuillan from Khorosheva’s pull back on the edge of the six-yard box.
A free from Polina Organova that took a deflection off the wall and looped over McQuillan then had them level four minutes later.
Ireland tried desperately to settle the game in normal time but were unable to get the better of a very physical Russian defence which left the destination of the bronze medal to be decided in a penalty shoot.
McQuillan and Ryan Doyle successfully converted their spot kicks but Megan Smyth-Lynch and Lynn Craven saw their attempts kept out by goalkeeper Tatiana Shcherbak.
The odds were now on Russia and they made no mistake beating McQuillan with all four of their penalties to take the bronze medal.
And so the chance of a small piece of sporting history been made was back on hold as the long wait for a first ever medal in football for an Irish side in the World University Games continues.
Ireland: Amanda McQuillan; Shauna Fox, Lauren Dwyer, Sadhbh Doyle, Chloe Mustaki; Lynn Craven, Lauren Kelly; Niamh Farrelly (Jessica Gargan 78), Eleanor Ryan Doyle, Megan Smyth Lynch; Aislinn Meaney.
Referee: Hyeon Jeong (Korea)