Mohill’s Dearbhaile Beirne was to the fore for the Irish U17 soccer team as they topped their qualifying group in the UEFA Women’s Championship and now advance to the Elite Phase.
Dearbhaile, who plays her club football with Shelbourne, started Ireland’s three games against Lithuania, Romania and tournament hosts, Serbia.
Ireland began with a 2-0 win over Lithuania and they beat Romania by a similar score in their second game.
Qualification for the Elite Phase was already secured before the final game against hosts Serbia with Dearbhaile again named in the starting 11 by manager Dave Connell.
Dearbhaile capped off a fine week with a goal in the 1-1 draw which was played in Subotica. She fired Ireland into the lead after 33 minutes when Courtney Higgins released Sarah McKevitt down the right and she whipped in a low cross which was turned home by Beirne.
Reflecting on the week Connell was full of praise for his players saying, ““It’s never easy to come to Serbia so to win the group is special especially as three of the teams here were in the Elite Phase last year and Lithuania are pretty good also. The girls have worked very hard this week and fully deserved to win the group. We can now look forward to the draw in November and take it from there.”