7 Key Takeaways From Ireland vs Hungary

7 Key Takeaways From Ireland vs Hungary
Alanna Cunnane
Alanna Cunnane

Eileen Gleeson’s side top their Nations League group at the close of this international break, picking up the win last night once again here’s the key takeaways from Ireland vs Hungary.

From attacking flair to defensive stability and a new lease of life effect on the team, it was all evident during their 4-0 victory in Budapest.


1.O’Sullivan shines in the 10 position


Denise O’Sullivan may have only accredited with one goal on the scoresheet last night, but the Cork woman had a hand in all four.

The North Carolina Courage captain was pulling the strings for the Girls in Green, embodying Ireland’s attacking maestro in her role.

Closer to goal than we would have seen her under Vera Pauw at the World Cup she let her talents shine, picking out cutthroat passes and igniting forward momentum throughout the game and collecting the Player Of The Match award for her efforts.

2.McCabe looks at home higher up the pitch, but can Ireland afford that in the bigger games?

Katie McCabe scored a 35 yard thunderbolt yesterday, what’s new!? Well quite a lot if you look at her positional heatmap during yesterday’s match.

When Lucy Quinn was substituted off after halftime, Izzy Atkinson was able to step into the Arsenal star’s shoes at left back, allowing McCabe to venture further up the pitch and thus be more of a threat.

She looked to play with the shackles off then, and was assured and menacing in doing so, but it must also be considered whether this opportunity was afforded to the Ballon D'or nominee due to the quality of opposition the Ireland WNT were facing.

It looks likely that we might see her there again as Ireland face Albania, the lowest ranked side in the group, in a double header in the next window. After that however, it’ll be an interesting plot point to keep an eye on as Ireland progress toward the Euros, and against a higher standard of opposition.

3.Caitlin Hayes is a real find

One of the key takeaways from Ireland vs Hungary last night was how much of a  gem Celtic woman Caitlin Hayes could turn out to be fo the Girls in Green over the coming years.

She showcased her brilliance during her debut versus Northern Ireland at the weekend, but certainly went on to cement it yesterday when she helped the team to yet another clean sheet, and scored too.

Her arial ability likens to her centre back partner Louise Quinn, as does her competence in propelling Ireland forward with a through pass, something which could prove vital as she begins to accumulate caps and the team bid to qualify for more major tournaments.

4.Carusa finally gets her plaudits

Kyra Carusa was one of Ireland’s best players at the World Cup, and although she didn’t receive the acclaim for that at the time her work rate is surely paying dividends now.

The San Diego Waves footballer scored her second goal in two games yesterday, capping off a phenomenal week for her and the entire WNT.

As a striker tasked with leading the line and holding the ball, she doesn’t shy away from that pressure.

She also displayed her never say die attitude against Hungary in particular seeing as she arguably should have had a penalty moments before she tucked away her score.

5.Football still has a ways to go in Hungary

After playing in front of 35,944 fans on Saturday, last night’s crowd in Hungary would have been a meek one for the Irish WNT in comparison to what they’ve become accustomed to as of late.

Sold out stadiums Down Under and unbridled support at home in contrast to the surroundings in Budapest really but into context just how far women’s football has come in Ireland, as well as how it still has some ways to go all over the world.

6. A happier camp?

If anything, what’s most evident from the last two games Ireland have played is their lighter demeanour pre, during and post match.

Once again last night the smiles were from ear to ear, with the team reacquainted with the flexibility to do so in the absence of any continued controversy.

“I’m really enjoying the freedom,” McCabe said last night, adding that “you can see the smile on my face. I might be cranky out there a couple of times, but I love the freedom to roll in from the left and find the spaces. Playing close to Denise has been good.”

“We’re all enjoying ourselves, and we’re looking forward to developing this attacking side of our game,” she continued.

Her partner in crime, O’Sullivan also echoed similar thoughts, outlining how “it was very positive tonight we are trying to do things and a new style of play.” 

“There’s loads of positives out there and it shows that the team is coming together and I think we’re really enjoying the football right now,” she said.

7. Gleeson and her backroom team to stay on for the Nations League?

One of the final key takeaways from Ireland vs Hungary is the lingering question as to who will be the next person to manage the team in a permanent capacity.

Gleeson, as the Head of Women’s and Girls Football is downplaying that she will be the long-term replacement in the hot-seat, but it’s unclear yet as to when that mystery person will come in to the picture.

That could mean she’s still at the (interim) helm for the next matches versus Albania, approaching at the end of October, mentioning how preparations for that have already begun.

“I’m not told anything, the full focus shifts to Albania as these things come around really quickly” she said yesterday.

“So whether it is me or somebody new, we’ll still be able to share information and pass things on and keep the battle going. 

“The next focus is on Albania so we’ll make sure the team is ready. We are already talking about Albania, you don’t switch off, it’s straight back in.”

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