Katie McCabe inspired Republic of Ireland to a comfortable 3-0 win over Northern Ireland in their opening Nations League match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
The Arsenal midfielder had a hand in all three goals as the Republic began life under interim manager Eileen Gleeson in style.
Kyra Carusa had Ireland’s best chance when her low header from a McCabe corner was well saved by Shannon Turner in the Northern Ireland goal.
But the hosts moved ahead on the half-hour when another McCabe set-piece was only partially cleared, falling to Lucy Quinn whose shot was deflected and flashed into the bottom corner.
Northern Ireland were fortunate to reach half-time just one behind as Quinn came close again from a similar effort, Carusa was off target with a header, and another Quinn effort was cleared off the line by Sarah McFadden.
Courtney Brosnan was called into action early in the second half to deny Marissa Callaghan as Northern Ireland threatened to wrestle their way back into the match.
But their good work was undone after 70 minutes when Turner raced out of her goal to try to reach a McCabe through pass, only for a mix-up with defender Rebecca Holloway allowing Carusa to direct the ball into an empty net.
The visitors wilted, and the Republic wrapped up an impressive win five minutes from time when Lily Agg, recently on as a substitute, rose highest to direct home a McCabe set-piece off the underside of the bar.
By PA Sport Staff
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