Release Date: 16/09/2012
Author: Roy Cathcart
IN THEIR penultimate match of the 2011-2013 European Qualifying Competition, Northern Ireland Senior Women's team went down 2-0 in Reykjavik on Saturday to table-topping Iceland though they gave a good account of themselves against one of Europe's top teams.
While it was mostly Northern Ireland's defensive players who caught the eye, with Alex Hurst, Demi Vance, Julie Nelson and Captain Ashley Hutton in particular working hard throughout, the youthful forward Caragh Milligan gave a lot of trouble to the experienced Icelandic defence with her strong running.
Iceland's first half pressure eventually resulted in a goal for Magnusdottir in the 37th minute, and a second, from Fridriksdottir, shortly after the interval left the final outcome in little doubt, but National Women's Coach Alfie Wylie was upbeat at the final whistle.
"It's a measure of how far Northern Ireland Women's football has come that we are disappointed by a two-nil defeat away to a side like Iceland.
"Only a few years ago, we would have regarded a result like this as a triumph. We started Group 3 as sixth seeds, and we will now finish in fourth place.
"Tonight's result, and the wonderful results of the Under 17s in topping a group which included giants like England and Italy shows the progress we are making," he said.
Northern Ireland complete their campaign at Windsor Park on Wednesday (kick-off 18:30) against Belgium with whom they drew 2-2 in Dessel in February, while Iceland play former World and Olympic Champions Norway in a winner-takes-all match for qualification to the European Finals.
Norway may yet rue their defeat to Northern Ireland in Lurgan last year.
Enter your NI Fans username and password to sign-in.