Eileen Gleeson disappointed by simple mistakes against Wales

Ireland deservedly beaten in Tallaght, the manager’s first loss from her first eight games

“We killed ourselves,” said Ireland manager Eileen Gleeson, speaking her mind after Wales cut through the Tallaght din with early goals from Jessica Fishlock and Lily Woodham.

“Things we take for granted. Like marking at corners.”

That Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan could not save the day, one carrying a quad strain and the other absent with a knee injury, might make this an important moment.

Others needed to shine. Jess Ziu and Caitlin Hayes escaped this two-nil turnover in credit, but the focus switches to the management’s tactics. The new formations. The forced return to the old system.


And still, nothing worked.

“First-half we made it very difficult for ourselves,” Gleeson continued. “We didn’t take care of the ball, we didn’t do the simple things well.

“Overall performance, we wouldn’t be happy. The only thing we can take from it is that we were nowhere near where we can be, we just need to move on from it.

“It is a loss.”

A first loss from eight matches in charge. Not bad. No need to panic. The real test comes in April as the Nations League doubles as qualifiers for Euro 2025. The Uefa draw in on Tuesday.

“We need to learn from these moments and when we move forward work out what we did well and what we can do better. We all agree there was a lot we could have done better.

“A lot of things were going on, we lost Niamh Fahey in the warm-up, that sometimes can upset or unsettle the starting line-up, and that had a bit of an impact. Then Diane Caldwell picked up an injury but we have to adapt to these things but it took too long. We just didn’t do simple things well.”

Gleeson spoke of a “better performance” in the second half but, in reality, it was nothing of the sort. The Welsh goal was barely troubled, bar a Ruesha Littlejohn shot on target and Hayes header as Gleeson replaced strikers Leanne Kiernan and Amber Barrett with Kyra Carusa and Emily Murphy.

Carusa had a look at goal but the San Diego forward’s trigger froze.

“The thinking was more strikers rather than more defenders,” Gleeson continued, “they had an extra person in midfield and we had to address that. I’m not sure whether it was about [reverting from] four to five defenders, it was simple things we had to do better, picking up people at corners, it’s the basic things you have to do better.

“Credit to Wales, we spoke about it, they got demoted to B but they have experience in League A, against the Danes, Iceland and Germany, all top opposition. A lot of experience, they matched our player profile, it was like for like and unfortunately we came out on the wrong side.

“The overall feeling is we can do much better.”

On and off the pitch.

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Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent