Next Summer the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Football Team embark on their historic journey into the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
It’s the first time in history they have managed to qualify and there is huge excitement for this year’s tournament.
In this blog we’re going to look back on the difficult and testing road to Down Under and see just how Vera Pauw and her side wrote their names in history.
To lean more about the players, check out our Ultimate Guide to the team right here.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the road.
Republic of Ireland Women’s National Football Team: The Road to Down Under
FIFA Women’s World Cup UEFA Qualifiers Group Stage
Republic of Ireland 0-1 Sweden
October 21, 2021
The Republic of Ireland opened their campaign with a defeat, but there was huge encouragement got from holding World number 2, Sweden, as close as they did.
A first-half own goal by Louise Quinn was enough for Sweden in Tallaght Stadium was enough for Sweden to give them the win.
Katie McCabe and Lucy Quinn came closest for the home side but couldn’t find the net.
But optimism was high after the opening night.
Finland 1-2 Republic of Ireland
October 26, 2021
Vera Pauw’s side got their campaign back on track at the first time of asking with a 2-1 win away to Finland in Helsinki.
A brilliant free kick from Megan Connolly put the Republic of Ireland ahead after ten minutes and dominated much of the first half but couldn’t find a second.
However, a fighting re-start from Finland saw them draw level in the 52nd minute through Engman.
But the brilliant Denise O’Sullivan responded instantly , capitalising on poor goalkeeping to fire Ireland ahead.
Goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan put in a player of the match performance to keep their hopes alive.
Republic of Ireland 1-1 Slovakia
November 25, 2021
The Girls in Green were brought crashing back to earth after a strong start to their campaign with this result.
In truth, it very easily could have been a loss too after a second half goal from Martina Surnovska gave the away side a lead.
Thankfully, however, Katie McCabe would pull one back, burying a low shot into the far corner to send the home crowd into raptures.
‘Georgia is a must-win – simple,’ manager Vera Pauw said afterwards.
Republic of Ireland 11-0 Georgia
November 30, 2021
And win they did!
The Republic of Ireland hit a record 11 goals over Georgia in Dublin and got their campaign back on track in style!
The hosts were 4-0 up half time, with goals from Kyra Carusa, Lucy Quinn, Denise O’Sullivan and an own-goal.
O’Sullivan would go on to hit a hat-trick, Katie McCabe got in on the act with a brace, while Saoirse Noonan, Amber Barrett and Megan Connolly completed the rout.
The win moved them into second in the group, behind leaders Sweden and ahead of Finland.
Sweden 1-1 Republic of Ireland
April 12, 2022
Coming into the game a draw would have been a great result for the Republic of Ireland, however by the full time whistle they would have felt disappointed not to have left with three points!
Arsenal star Katie McCabe have the away side a shock lead late in the first half and they looked nailed on to record probably their best win ever, until Real Madrid’s Kosovare Asllani equalised 11 minutes from time.
Despite being under pressure for much of the game, the Irish stuck to their defensive duties diligently, attacking on the break and causing trouble too.
The home side needed a point to qualify, and their siege eventually broke the stern Irish defence down to break the Republic of Ireland’s hearts.
Georgia 0-9 Republic of Ireland
June 27, 2022
A hat-trick from Katie McCabe and double from Louis Quinn thrashed Georgia once more in Gori.
Goals from Niamh Fahey, Megan Connolly, Abbie Larkin and Denise O’Sullivan cruised to a victory that would send them back into second place of the group ahead of Finland.
‘We have two games to go and we have it on our own hands,” Vera Pauw said after. ‘We have the feeling that we can maybe do it.’
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Finland
September 1, 2022
A second half goal from Lily Agg sensational secured the Republic of Ireland a place in the play-offs on a famous night in Dublin.
A record home crowd of 6,952 people packed into Tallaght Stadium to see the Irish recover from a sluggish start to earn them a deserved lead.
They could not begin to dream of a trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2023.
Slovakia 0-1 Republic of Ireland
September 6, 2022
The classy Denise O’Sullivan kept the Girls in Green in winning form against a tough Slovakia side.
Despite already having booked their place in the play-offs, a win for the away side would provide a bit of retribution given Slovakia took points from them earlier in the campaign.
In a cagey game, Cork native O’Sullivan took her goal brilliantly in the 37th minute and added further trajectory to her rising stock in the world game.
FIFA Women’s World Cup UEFA Qualifiers Play Off
Scotland 0-1 Republic of Ireland
October 11, 2022
A famous, famous night.
Amber Barrett’s goal for the Republic of Ireland in the 72nd minute was enough to defeat Scotland at Hampden Park and secure their spot in the tournament in Australia and New Zealand the following year.
As the Scots failed to express themselves and saw their own dreams of replicating their 2019 finals appearance die, Real Madrid star Caroline Weir had a first-half penalty saved from Courtney Brosnan.
Both teams entered the evening unsure of their futures, but other outcomes clarified the picture and made it plain to Republic of Ireland that a victory would be sufficient to guarantee their spot in Australia and New Zealand the following year.
‘I’m so proud of the girls’ performance,’ captain Katie McCabe said after. ‘It wasn’t pretty tonight at all, but it was an unbelievable save from Courtney for the penalty.
‘We put our bodies on the line, we worked for each other, we ran for each other, and that’s what this team is all about.
‘We’ve got an identity we’ve been working on throughout this campaign. It’s not pretty and it’s not everyone’s favourite style of football, but it works for us and we enjoy it.’
Let the party begin.
If you’re curious what the road ahead looks like for the Republic of Ireland now, check out our blog on their World Cup 2023 Fixtures and Opponents.
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