The Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-17 side have qualified for the Elite Round of the UEFA Women’s Under-17 Championship following a 6-0 win over Lithuania in Marijampole on Friday.
A goal in the first 20 seconds of the game by Muireann Devaney was followed by an Erin McLaughlin double and an Ellen Molloy strike to give James Scott’s side a 4-0 lead at half time.
Aoibheann Clancy scored from the spot in the second-half and Kerry Brown netted on 74 minutes to round off the scoring.
Ireland currently top Group 7 with a +12 goal difference over second placed Greece – who they face on Monday at 1pm Irish time.
The Girls in Green were fast out the traps with Sligo Rovers’ Devaney taking a shot from distance that slipped through the grasp of Lithuania goalkeeper Meda Šeškutė to open the scoring,
On 10 minutes Ireland doubled their lead when Erin McLaughlin headed home an inswinging corner from Molloy.
Molloy would go from provider to scorer when she converted an in-direct free kick by striking it underneath the Lithuanian wall for 3-0.
McLaughlin got her second of the match, and her fifth in qualifying, when she netted a one-touch finish from a Kate Slevin cross.
In the second half Cork City’s Olivia Gibson came on for her debut and just two minutes later Ireland had their fifth goal. McLaughlin was brought down by Šeškutė and Clancy stepped up to convert the spot kick.
Kerry Brown made it 6-0 after great work from Aoife Horgan put the chance on the plate for the Number 11 to find a neat finish.
There was time for two more debuts with Wexford Youths’ Aimee Bates Crosbie replacing Slevin and Fairview Rangers’ Jenna Slattery coming on for Shaunna Brennan.
Speaking after the game Women’s Under-17 Head Coach James Scott said: “It was a superb performance and we played some excellent football and I’m delighted to see us qualify for the Elite Round.
“At times it was a joy to watch and it was the type of football you love to see all Irish teams play – girls or boys.
“Lithuania aren’t a bad side, they have a goalkeeper and a centre forward that have played against Wexford Youths in the Champions League but we did everything right. We attacked and defended well and the girls were excellent.”
The WU17s will fight it out for top spot with Greece on Monday and Scott said that his players are already focused for that game.
He added: “We can enjoy this win but ideally we’d love to top the group. The players were already thinking about Greece straight after the game so that shows their determination to win.
“We’ll have a rest day on Saturday and the players will enjoy time with their family then we’ll be ready to go for Monday.”
Republic of Ireland
Leah Hayes (GK), Kate Slevin (Aimee Crosbie Bates,76), Therese Kinnevey (Chloe McCarthy, 56), Della Doherty (C), Shauna Brennan (Jenna Slattery, 76), Aoibheann Clancy, Becky Watkins (Aoife Horgan, 66), Muireann Devaney (Olivia Gibson, 66), Erin McLaughlin, Ellen Molloy, Kerry Brown.
Emma Ring (GK), Orlagh Fitzpatrick, Kate O’Dowd, Laura Shine.
Meda Šeškutė (GK) (C), Alina Špakovskaja, Tereza Romanovskaja, Rimantė Jonušaitė (Veronika Zelenina, 84), Gabija Valiukevičiūtė (Laura Kubiliūtė, 79) , Donata Švarcaitė (Neonila Ivanovskaja, 67), Austė Bernotaitė, Rugilė Butkutė, Iveta Inčytė (Livija Toropovaité, 67), Dovilė Dockaitė, Erika Šupelytė (Eva Gecevičiūtė, 79).
Aušrinė Bikutė (GK), Gabija Sinkevičiūtė, Ligita Toropovaitė, Ugnė Slankauskaitė.
September, 10: Ireland 10-0 Albania
September, 13: Lithuania 0-6 Ireland
September, 16: Greece v Ireland, (KO 13:00, Irish time), SRC Alytus – Alytus