McLaughlin & Ireland end qualifiers with Russian defeat

Soccer

Donegal's Roma McLaughlin and the Republic of Ireland Women's Under 19s ended their UEFA European Championship First Phase qualifiers in Slovenia with a narrow 2-1 loss to Russia on Sunday.

After being awarded a 3-0 victory over Slovenia (following a UEFA ruling that they had fielded an ineligible player) and beating Bulgaria 6-0, Dave Connell's team had ensured passage through to the Elite Phase.

They still wanted to finish these qualifying games on a high, but it wasn't to be in spite of their positive attacking play and determination to keep up with a very good Russian side.

Ireland took the lead inside the opening five minutes when Castlebar Celtic ace Jessica Nolan applied a cool finish and they held onto that advantage going in at the break.

Russia drew level on 56 minutes through Alena Andreeva before Marina Fedorova added their second goal on 71 minutes to ensure they secured a third straight win and topped Group 10.

McLaughlin came on a second half subsitute on 73 minutes.