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The Republic of Ireland remain on course for promotion to the top tier of women's football in Europe after preserving their lead in Group 5 of the UEFA European Women's Championship with a 1-1 draw with Romania in Mogosoaia, near Bucharest.
Boyle strikes first
Ireland started the stronger of Group 5's two remaining undefeated sides and went ahead after only three minutes through the defender Sharon Boyle. Noel King's side dominated the opening 45 minutes but despite forcing Romania deep into their own half for long spells, could not find the second goal their pressure warranted.
Spanu hits back
Ireland's failure to take their chances cost them two minutes before the interval when 18-year-old Florentina Spanu struck back for the home side. Olivia O'Toole remained the driving force for Ireland in the second half, but Romania grew in confidence after Spanu's goal and, despite the absence of several key players, were able to hold on for an important point.
Romania eye top spot
Ireland continue to lead the group by a point from Romania after six matches, but have played a game more than Gheorghe Staicu's side who hold the head-to-head advantage between the two teams after drawing 2-2 in Dublin last June.
The 13 nations in Groups 5, 6 and 7 are competing for the chance of promotion to the four-group top tier and the opportunity to qualify for the European Women's Championship next time round.
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