Ireland on track for Nations Cup semi-finals after win over Italy

Captain Katie Mullan scores one goal and creates another for Naomi Carroll

A 2-1 win over Italy at the Nations Cup in Valencia on Monday has boosted Ireland’s prospects of reaching the semi-finals of the tournament, their hopes now resting on their meeting with Korea on Wednesday morning.

Having lost 2-0 to Spain in their opening game on Sunday, Sean Dancer’s side needed to step up a gear against the Italians if they were to have any hope of a top-two finish in the pool.

They duly conquered, as two goals in nine third-quarter minutes secured the points, captain Katie Mullan creating the first and scoring the second.

Roisin Upton, winning her 100th cap, picked out Mullan in the circle and her cross was turned home by Naomi Carroll, who tapped the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs. Upton was involved again when her pass from her own half found Mullan at the edge of the circle and the captain superbly drove between two defenders before slotting the ball home.


Italy pulled a goal back in the final minute, but Ireland had their win and are now second in the pool. Spain guaranteed their semi-final spot by beating Korea 3-0, leaving Ireland two points clear of both Italy and the Asian side. A draw would, more than likely, suffice against Korea, but a win would make sure of Ireland’s progress.

Ireland: E Murphy, S McAuley, R Upton, N Carey, S Hawkshaw, K Mullan (capt), H McLoughlin, S Torrans, E Tice, N Carroll, C Beggs. Subs: H Micklem, Z Malseed, M Carey, C Perdue, S O’Brien, E Curran, C Hamill.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times