England stunned as Keenan completes comeback
Friday, 18 July 2014
England 1-2 Republic of Ireland
Reduced to tears by a first-game ban, Keeva Keenan struck an 86th-minute winner as Ireland completed a rousing recovery.
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Keeva Keenan struck four minutes from time as the Republic of Ireland came from behind to maintain their 100% record in Group B, leaving England on the brink of an early exit.
• Finals debutants Ireland make it two wins from two
• Walker gives England half-time advantage
• McCarthy equalises, Keenan scoring late winner
• Keenen admits she cried because of first-game ban
• Ireland need point against Sweden to seal progress
Claudia Walker's 36th-minute opener meant England were in the driving seat at half-time and, during the break, Ireland coach David Connell simply asked his side to "win the second-half" – it was all the motivation they needed. Goals from Savannah McCarthy and Keenan, who came off the bench in unforgettable style to head in the winner, has left Ireland in touching distance of the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship semi-finals.
Keenan, suspended for Tuesday's victory over Spain, said it was "truly something" to beat England. "I was crying from about 3.30pm until kick-off in the first game," she confessed. "I was absolutely gutted to have missed out on that amazing opportunity. I had played in all the games during the elite phase and was completely heartbroken to have missed that.
"So to have scored against England and seen our team win is truly something else. I can't describe it. The rivalry with England huge and to beat them is amazing. It was only my second international goal, and that came in a 12-1 win so it didn't really stand out. This one does. Nobody at home was expecting us to get to the finals, so to get two wins is amazing. We're proving everyone wrong."
David Connell, Ireland manager
We are always confident we can compete with the best and this really shows it. We are in a group with three great nations, not only in Europe, but in the world. All of this shows the character of the team. When their backs are against the wall, they show great leadership qualities. I asked the players at half-time to win the second half for me and they did that. England were very good, and their staff were very complimentary to us afterwards, so fair play to them for that. I will remember that.
Brent Hills, England manager
These girls could qualify for the next year's Under-19 finals, and some of them, even the one after that. They have the unique benefit of having a dry run here. They will not feel it right now, but they are lucky in that respect. I thought our quality in the final third was better than against Sweden, that was pleasing. And we kept reasonably good possession, too. Congratulations to Ireland, they played excellent football.