Limerick native Claire O’Riordan nets first International goal in Ireland win over Zambia

Riordan gave Ireland their first lead of the night, heading home from a Megan Connolly free kick in the 63rd minute.

Limerick native Claire O’Riordan proved a goalscoring hero as she netted a first ever international goal to help Ireland to a 3-2 win over Zambia in Tallaght Stadium.

The Celtic’s star added to a brace from Amber Barrett as Ireland continued their build up to the World Cup in Australia with another win.

22 June 2023; Claire O’Riordan of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring her side’s second goal during the women’s international friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Zambia at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The visitors took the lead in the 16th minute and maintained that advantage to the half in Dublin. But Barrett, who’s goal helped secure qualification to the tournament last year, brought parity to the contest with her first of the evening from the spot.

Then Riordan gave Ireland their first lead of the night, heading home from a Megan Connolly free kick in the 63rd minute. Barrett then gave the hosts a cushion with a well finished effort.

Zambia pulled one back 11 minutes from time when Racheal Kundananji turned Heather Payne, outpaced Harriett Scott and drove a powerful shot low past Brosnan, setting up an intense final ten minutes.

But despite some frantic play in the final stages Vera Pauw’s side protected their lead to register a winning start to their World Cup build up.

Speaking after the historic night for herself, Riordan spoke about her form and potential inclusion in the World Cup squad.

“The most important thing for me in the lead up to camp was to make sure I was playing, I was fit and healthy, had good rhythm and confidence and thankfully that brought me here today.

“There will be nerves, no doubt about that but we have a fantastic group of players here and staff behind us. All we can do is continue to work hard and push ourselves in every training to be the best that we can be.”

Ireland: Courtney Brosnan; Niamh Fahey (Harriett Scott 46), Louise Quinn, Claire O’Riordan; Heather Payne, Ruesha Littlejohn (Ciara Grant 46), Megan Connolly, Izzy Atkinson (Chloe Mustaki 46); Abbie Larkin (Lucy Quinn 64), Saoirse Noonan (Amber Barrett 46), Leanne Kiernan (Erin McLaughlin 46).

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