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28/10/2021

Keri Loughrey and Ellie Long feature in dramatic win for Ireland Under-17s in Portugal

Keri Loughrey and Ellie Long feature in dramatic win for Ireland Under-17s in Portugal

The Republic of Ireland Women's Under-17s

Donegal and Inishowen was well-represented in Portugal this week with Keri Loughrey and Ellie Long lining out for the Republic of Ireland Women's Under-17s in a double-header of friendlies.

Loughrey (pictured below), formerly of Buncrana Hearts and a native of Buncrana, is now playing with the Donegal Women’s League Under-17s and Sion Swifts' Long is from Carndonagh.

Ireland played their hosts Portugal twice at the Cidade do Futebol (City of Football) complex at the Portuguese FA Headquarters in Lisbon, losing their first encounter 3-1 before winning their second 1-0 in dramatic fashion.

In searing heat on Sunday, Portugal took the lead on 48 minutes when Maria Joao fired in, but Ireland hit back on 68 minutes when a high press led to good combination play and Lia O'Leary beating her defender before finishing.

The hosts regained the lead on 77 minutes through a goal from Ana Carolina before Lara Martins finished it all off on 89 minutes with a third goal for 3-1. Ireland played well and struck the woodwork three times with Loughrey playing the full game and Long (pictured below) coming off the bench for the last 16 minutes.

On Wednesday, both started in the 1-0 win, which Ireland secured thanks to a last minute goal. With time ticking down, defender Heidi Macken popped up to score the winning goal. The Cork City ace made the most telling impact at the most crucial time as referee Sofia Gamas pretty much blew the final whistle after that to allow Ireland to extend their celebrations.

The two matches were used in preparation for the UEFA Women's Under-17 European Championship qualifiers in October. Ireland will face off against Bulgaria, Hungary and Norway in a bid to reach the Elite Round.

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