Ireland keep up challenge

Republic of Ireland 2-1 Romania Michele O'Brien and Stefanie Curtis scored in the first 31 minutes to secure Ireland's third win in four qualifiers.

The Republic of Ireland defeated Romania in Dublin to move level on points with UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ qualifying Group 2 leaders Sweden.

Early goals
Ireland had six points from three games at kick-off and began brightly against the team they overcame 2-0 away from home in August. On 18 minutes Aine O’Gorman fed Michele O'Brien, who fired in from 20 metres out. Just beyond the half-hour, Stefanie Curtis – scorer of both the goals in the previous meeting – produced an excellent finish after good work from O'Brien.

Grant injury
Home captain Ciara Grant suffered a leg injury and was replaced on 32 minutes, a possible worry for Arsenal LFC in light of next month's UEFA Women's Cup quarter-final against Olympique Lyonnais, and before the break Daniela Simona pulled one back on the rebound after Elena Pavel's deep free-kick was pushed onto the crossbar by goalkeeper Emma Byrne.

Win secure
Despite that blow, Ireland controlled the second half and Marie Curtin nearly made it 3-1 on the hour with a 25-metre shot that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced away. Ireland, who next visit Italy on 16 February, are behind Sweden on goal difference and three points ahead of the Azzurre, but have played a match more than both. Romania, on one point, use up Italy's game in hand on Wednesday.

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