FC Irlande Ladies 1
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Ladies I were to play against White Star on Saturday under typical Belgian stormy weather. The ladies in green started the game with decent intensity and despite a good save from Marie, the opponents scored rapidly. The game was quite balanced; there were a few opportunities on both sides, but White Star scored to bring the score to 0-2 at halftime. Luck was definitely not on FCI side for the day, with the injury of Isabel and, shortly after, Michèle, two of our rock-solid defenders.
Despite the first half and the difficult conditions, the ladies in green started well in the second half with a change of system and a goal from our “new” recruit Noémie, scoring a “standing overhead kick” (Her taekwondo skills are to thank for this goal, according to her). Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to maintain the team afloat and White Star scored four more goals. However, Mel couldn’t get away without a goal and reduced the score gap to 2-6.
It was a difficult game to start the second half of the season, there are things to correct and things to be satisfied with. There’s some more work to do to be proper “fucking bitches” (some of us are closer than others).
It’s 5:30pm in the beautiful municipality of Auderghem. The sun has already set and the birds have stopped singing. The thermometer shows zero degree. Winter can be rough in Brussels. Dressed in their matching outfits, and after another inspiring speech of their coaches, Ladies I are ready for their last fight of the year, eager to end 2022 on a positive note.
Today’s opponents are the (very) young ladies of Liège, another team from the top of the league. But tonight, the ladies in green can count on the support of their fans who came all the way from Ixelles. From one team in green, to another, with love for the green jersey (and hot wine).
The first whistle of the game is blown, and the show can finally begin. The first 25 minutes of the game are to the advantage of the opposing team which manages to build some dangerous opportunities. Our defence is very busy pushing back Liège’s rapid attacks, supported by the shouts of the fans who do not spare their efforts despite the cold. Marie is vigilant in her cage, and nothing goes in. One shot hits the pole, but a good star is shining in Auderghem’s sky tonight. In the back, Jenny and Michèle form a great tandem which will finally disgust the opposing strikers.
Ladies I resist and take over the game for the last 20 minutes of the first half time. It’s a tough battle in the middle but thanks to a high press and some winning duels, Ireland manages to threaten the opposing keeper’s goal on several occasions. Though, this won’t be enough and it’s 0-0 at half time.
Back from the locker rooms, both teams are more determined than ever. Another star, in the name of Olatz, is now shining in Ireland’s goal. The second half time is intense. Physical duels, exchange of sweet words, sprints, cheering and applause from the fans. Our opponents start to get frustrated and become more aggressive. In the middle of all this, the ref remains indifferent to the tension. Liège changes its tactics and starts kicking long balls, hoping that the fast legs of their strikers would make the difference. But this is without counting on Michèle’s legs (our birthday girl of the day) which are, even though not as young, even faster. Twice older, twice faster. QED.
The intensity of the game remains high until the very last minute. Shouts from the fans get louder as the tension intensifies. Or maybe it’s an effect of the hot wine? The Ladies in green start looking in the direction of the ref for the final whistle. And finally, it comes with the final score of 0-0.
It was a great performance by the whole team which made very important defensive efforts to obtain our first clean sheet of the season. This draw tastes as a victory, and the objective of the day was reached.
It’s now time to celebrate Christmas, and Magda’s yellow card.
Tough game for ladies I.
Short in numbers (massive thanks to the three ladies helping), the fighting spirit and the solidarity was not enough to compete against the team of Mechelen, whose 10 goals left little respite to the ladies in green.
One big victory though: As many players exited the pitch after 90 minutes as entered, and alive, which, given the state of health of some of them, is worth celebrating.
It had been a while since FC Ireland savored the sweet taste of victory.
Facing a young team from Mons, would they be able to snatch three points and leave the last place of the table?
After another fantastic speech from their beloved coaches, the ladies in green rolled up their sleeves and arrived on the pitch with a knife between their teeth and fire in their heart.
The battle was fierce and the arbitration was questionable. (We would not be surprised to learn that the referee has some Mons relatives in his family tree…)
Several opportunities arose on both sides but a very heroic Olatz managed to keep the ball away from her net, greatly helped by amazing interventions from Isabel and Cintia while American Sarah destroyed any hope player number 6 had of ever touching the ball.
Although FCI played a little rough, the opponent mostly reminded us of a famous Brazilian player that shall not be named.
The scoreboard showed 0-0 at halftime but Ladies 1 did not lose their enthusiasm (and certainly not Mathias who received a yellow card for excessive “encouragement” towards the ref).
For her return, Momo gave us the pleasure of managing the defensive line with a firm hand.
Our midfielders, for their part, delivered an impeccable performance with their interceptions and swift passes to our wingers and forwards.
And suddenly, it happened.
Christmas came early this year and Mel was Santa Claus.
After overtaking the opposing defender thanks to her superhuman speed, she faced the goalkeeper and – almost tenderly – scored the first goal of the evening.
But they were not done.
The one and only Momo decided to hit hard for her first game and scored with a fine header. 2-0.
Was FC Ireland about to win? Was our wildest dream about to come true?
Despite this second blow, Mons did not give up and kept pushing until they finally broke the green fortress…
The minutes passed slowly but the girls kept their cool and tirelessly pushed back the countless attacks from Mons till the ref blew the final whistle.
After that important win, that’s 3 more points for FC Ireland and one tequila for Mathias.
Hopefully, there will be other victories and many more shots!
Winter has officially begun here in Belgium and brought a cold misty night for FCI’s first game against KVV Vosselaar this season.
While the weather was gloomy, FCI was gifted a visit from Ted Lasso for a pre-game pep talk. Ted’s high energy was felt and pushed FCI ladies into a roaring start. While Flemish might not be our native language as a team, these women were shaking in their boots with the high pressure and intensity FCI was inflicting on them. It was clear that this past week’s practice focus on high-tight pressure was working. FCI had put together many opportunities in front of the net but, unfortunately, couldn’t get anything to go in. Halfway through the first half, KVV had a breakaway and was able to find the back of the net. Putting FCI down 0-1. KVV closely followed up again with a goal off of a free kick; there wasn’t much FCI could have done as KVV bent it like Beckham into the goal. This 0-2 deficit didn’t put FCI in a rut; keeping the pressure and utilizing quick passes in the midfield to create opportunities moving forward, FCI was able to work the ball into the corner to Mel 1 (Sarah C.) with a beautiful cross into the box to Mel 2 (Parker), who gave a “purposeful” swing and miss and let the ball go through her legs and onwards to Mel 3 (the real Mel) who was right where Mel 2 needed her to be and finished the ball into the back of the net—getting FCI back into the game as FCI headed into the half down 1-2.
As the first half of the game was some of the best soccer/football FCI has played all season, the same strategy and gameplay continued into the second half. Both teams came out wanting to win. Unfortunately, KVV was able to find the net first again, bringing the score to 1-3. With a lot of time remaining, FCI stayed strong and pushed onwards. Sydney had a breakaway ball and was fouled in the box, giving FCI a penalty kick. Calm, relaxed, and focused, captain Sophia stepped up and laid a bullet into the bottom right corner of the net. Bringing FCI right back into it, the score is 2-3. The intensity never broke for either team, so much so it became a bit of a card show in the second half (some deserved and some not). A massive shout-out to the defensive line, who killed it all game with countless stops. Don’t forget Marie, who rocked it in goal, coming off her line multiple times with sliding saves to help hold KVV at three goals. With a final whistle, it was a tough loss for the FCI ladies.
While the winter weather may be gloomy, the FCI ladies look bright and ready to take on these challenging months. This was some of the best soccer/football the team has played all season. This winter should surely be bright for the FCI lady’s team moving forward.
Last Saturday, Ladies 1 went to the beautiful and sunny city of Loyers (city or village, that wasn’t clear), where there was a very disproportionate number of cars parked at the stadium, compared to the number of inhabitants in the city.
But let’s not be fooled by appearances: Loyers is home to the runner-up team of D2. A tough opponent for FC Ireland. However, Ladies 1 proved its full potential last week by shaking down Alken, the reigning leader of the league.
After a few minutes of negotiations with the referee about the color of FC Ireland top base layer (green, white, black?), the whistle blows. A very tough game from the first minutes for Ladies 1… Between their speed and their ability to project themselves forward, the players from Loyers scored after only 4 minutes. Of course the fact that the city of Loyers was in altitude as some of us noticed on the road didn’t help us start the game properly, but apart from that, the opponent’s tactic on the pitch was surgical and Loyers did not miss many opportunities to score during the first half. The game wasn’t going our way and very quickly, Loyers managed to create frustration on Ladies 1’s side by stringing together short quick passes and leading the tempo. Despite our defenders running to cut off the opposition’s deep passes, *especially Michèle, who threw body and soul to hold the opponent (someone was threatened and blackmailed to write this sentence in the match report), Ladies 1 conceded a second goal after 17 minutes, then a third after 25 minutes. The fourth goal came in the 30th minute, plunging Ladies 1’s morale
4 – nill for the first half, but only 1-1 for the second half! Ladies 1 played more aggressively and fought harder in the second half, thanks to a new organisation of the players on the field and another amazing goal from Mel in the 55th minute . This renewed vigour on the field is a positive point to remember for the upcoming games. State of mind and attitude can make the difference on the pitch. Ladies 1 will continue to train hard and come back stronger for the upcoming games!
Highly motivated by a great tactic speech and encouraging words by the captains ladies 1 started the game with great energy, not giving Alken space to play. Demonstrating their ability to play football at the highest levels, midfield and strikers pressing while defense cut all of Alken’s chances at goal. Soon enough, after a great offensive play, Mel scored a beautiful goal for the ladies in green. Alken got frustrated, they are first of the league and had not lost any match so far. They managed to score a goal at the end of first half and the ladies went to recess 1-1.
Ladies 1 went back to the field strong and kept playing at their best. However, Alken showcased good technical ability and scored a second goal. Although Ladies 1 never gave up and kept pressing, they conceded two more goals at the end of the game.
Despite a final score of 1-4, Ladies 1 managed to keep a 1-1 score for more than half of the game against a top of the league team. The ladies demonstrated that they have the ability, willingness and spirit to compete at D2 and will keep the level high for future matches!
Last Saturday, two big challenges awaited our Ladies I : trying to beat the young and tough team from Molenbeek but also and above all managing to find their locker room in this RWDM maze of corridors.
After a great tactical speech, the team headed to one of the many pitches on site (but sadly not to the large main one… much to Magda’s disappointment).
Once the warm-up was over, the players took place on the field under the benevolent gaze of Sydney (who despite her feverish state and her tuberculosis cough had made the trip to support her teammates).
The ref whistled.
The battle began.
The opposition was quick and physical. Their passes were surgical. But that did not prevent Ireland from scoring the first goal of the game…
Molenbeek scored after 7 minutes. And scored twice more (39′ and 53′).
Despite clear domination from Molenbeek, Ladies I gave their all on the pitch : they fought over every ball, made the necessary defensive runs, gave a few nudges when needed and received a few themselves…
They proved they were hungry for more and will keep on showing that spirit during the next games.
Big shout out to:
– Noémie for her first game ;
– Sephora who managed to hustle the opposing team ;
– Magda’s parents and all the other supporters who showed up!
Oh and of course, kudos to Söphia for suppressing her natural instincts… 🙃
Ladies I had high hopes to secure a win against Charleroi, particularly since they wanted to bring home a W for Sophia’s birthday. However, that is not what happened. This is their story:
The ladies had a promising lineup although they were still missing a couple players. As such, their beloved captain Sophia, resident birthday girl, played CB for the majority of the game. The coaches devised a strategy to contain number 15, the league leader in goals. But the tireless woman did not want to be contained and had the defense chasing her all over the pitch. However, Cintia, our trusted defensive back, took on the containment mission as if her life depended on it. As a result, number 15 was frustrated for the first 60 minutes of the match as evidenced by the number of putains she yelled. Cintia won player of the match for her heroic efforts. During this time, Sophia, our leading yellow card champ, embraced her temp role as CB and executed her infamous move to stop a breakaway at any cost, pulling down one of their speedy wingers, and disrupting a very dangerous play at the 35th minute mark, earning her a yellow card. While the defense—Isa, Sarah C., Cintia, and Sophia tried their hardest to keep the opposing team from taking shots, they still managed to take a few shots on goal. Olatz, our fearless goalie, pulled some daring saves to keep it 0-0 going into halftime by stopping some hard shots on goal and also by running out to beat an opposing player to a loose ball.
The first goal came at nearly the 60th minute from the league leader, dreaded number 15. The ladies knew they needed to stay mentally focused and not let this goal deter their efforts. At either 0-1, or 0-2, our new winger, and O’Reilly’s very own, Sydney, made a beautiful cross (she is known for them). Magda was there and ready to knock it in, right in front of the goal, but it went high. Let’s just say Magda was bummed by this. Then number 15 struck again. And now it was 0-2.
Somewhere around this time, our other speedy winger Mel succumbed to leg cramps and was writhing in pain on the field for a couple minutes. Like the warrior she is, she continued to play. Midfield and Magda, Mel, Sydney, Louise, Sarah H., Pri, Virg, and Parker worked hard to recover balls and work up offensive plays to strike on goal, but the ball did not meet the back of the net this time.
The opponents managed to score one more goal before the match ended and the game finished with the score of 0-3.
Ladies I was disappointed by the loss, but they remain hungry and eager to improve. The women are heading back to the drawing board at practice on Monday and are determined to get more points.
Special shout out to Pri from ladies II for coming to help in the midfield!
Tough conditions for Ladies I on Saturday. After driving all the way down to Wallonia and beyond, there were barely some sunrays to welcome them. The uniqueness of the pitch didn’t go unnoticed, rather muddy and hilly.
Ladies I were determined to play their football but the pitch made that difficult and the game looked like ping pong more often than not. Mid-way through the first half, Ladies I conceded a penalty for a handball, and the opponent scored the first goal of the game. Shortly after, the ladies in green scored an amazing goal thanks to Sydney after a perfect cross from Mel. Back-to-back again, both teams tried to find their way around a recalcitrant pitch.
The opponent found the back of the net once more, but Parker made sure they didn’t remain ahead. Very well positioned after a shot released by the keeper, she pushed the ball into the opponent’s goal.
The first half ended on a 2-2 draw. The second half looked very similar to the first one, with Parker making sure to keep ladies I afloat once more. Unfortunately, Manhay scored once more at the end of the game and the score didn’t evolve anymore, ending up on an extremely frustrating 4-3 for the locals.
Great start for our newcomers Sydney and Parker with respectively one and two goals. (Well, technically rough start for Parker who seems to have some issues with that carpool app. Hang in there, you will get it right eventually!) Big ups to AJ for joining this trip with only a 1-hour notice, excellent sub on top of that! Overall, not even the fluffy cows were enough to lift the mood. (Yes Mel, that part is for you.)
In an iconic smash hit that ultimately went on to become 2009’s song of the summer, the Black Eyed Peas left us with the words “I have a Feeling that Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night”. Few knew that when they said “tonight” they were actually referring to the fateful evening of September 17, 2022 when the ladies of FCI would go on to have a great night and dismantle their opponents, K. St.-Truidense, 3-1 on the Auderghem pitch.
The ladies in green came out with a drive and desire to seize the coveted 3 points. From the first whistle they pressed the opponents with a high line. In a rather unfortunate turn of events, Irelande found themselves down a goal when a distant free kick by the opponents caught not only our ladies off guard but also an STVV head and then the back of the net. Irelande welcomed the challenge of coming back from a goal down. Not more than a few minutes later, after a hard-fought win of the ball from our striker Juliette, Mel did what she does best by slipping the ball into the net from nothing short of a Spectacular angle. The fun continued when French Sarah (not to be confused with American Sarah or Finnish Sara) oh so gracefully lobbed the ball over the opponent’s goalkeeper in a breath-stopping shot from the top of the box. With a few minutes left in the first half, a through-ball by Magda was perfectly swooped up by Mel, who cheekily dribbled around the keeper and gave our ladies a nice 3-1 lead at the half.
The second 45 minutes were marked by a stalwart commitment of boxing the opponents out and maintaining Irlande’s comfortable lead. Huge kudos to a freshly-minted duo in the center back—American Sarah and German Sophia (aka Sophia) used their combination of speed, body strength, and ball control to keep the shots on Olatz’s goal to a minimum. They were blessed with the support of Louise who seamlessly connected our defense with our offense. We also commend Finnish Sara and Cintia for putting their bodies on the line when challenging for every long ball sent by the opponent down the sides, and we wish these two heroes speedy recoveries from the bodily ailments sustained during the course of this match.
In summary, the ladies played a lovely bit of football to claim their first victory of the season. We look forward to many more points, emotions, and funky evenings in the coming weeks.
On this foggy Sunday morning, the FCI ladies made their way to BX. The first challenge of the day was making sure everyone was able to make it to the field as the metro and Google maps were not on our side.Once arrived, the players got ready and put on their Irish green uniforms. The coaches gave the lineup, tactics and the classic warm up was underway. After a great warmup the ladies were excited to get the game started. However, this proved to be another challenge as there were referee complications. In the meantime, the players were able to say hello to some familiar faces on the opposing team. Once the complications were sorted, the sun began to shine and the match was finally able to start. FCI proved that they were able to compete in the game with the first 20 minutes showing some promising runs on the right and a couple of attempts on goal. Unfortunately, giving her all, Sarah was winded and during this time, BX was able to take advantage of our one man down and scored. Shortly after, BX were given a free kick which led to a cross and another goal was conceived. FCI had a couple more opportunities, and the half time whistle was blown. During the half time the ladies received some encouraging words and were ready to take on the rest of the game. Playing a slightly higher line, FCI was able to move the ball, keep possession and show some nice constructive football. After Mel’s tenacity to win the ball back and perseverance, she took a beautiful shot from outside the box which landed into the back of the net. It was now 2-1. With FCI outrunning BX and a close score, a strategic decision was made to play more offensive and change the formation. With 25 minutes left the FCI players were determined. After some terrible calls by the referee, one of BX’s players, who ten seconds ago was lying on the floor, injured, suddenly seemed to be ok again and dribble through the field and score. Shortly after another goal was conceided. The game ended with an underserved 4-1. FCI showed some great skills! Games like these are frustrating, but as Marie said after the game “We have heart” and we will continue until the end.
Going into our first home game, the FCI ladies were pumped and ready after an effervescent talk from the coaches and an efficient warmup. Our opponents hailed from Wallonia, and they seemed to mean business despite the questionably bright warmup T’s. Pitch conditions were exceedingly pleasant; a bit of sunshine, but not too intense thankfully. As spectators and players alike began wondering if the match would ever start, we were joined by a bombastic ref who basically delivered a sermon about a clean, no-nonsense game. Cue the start of the match!
Opening minutes against Sibret were very rough-and-tumble; it became clear it would be a fight from start to finish. Olatz made several saves early on, which she continued to do with dogged persistence throughout. A stellar performance from Michelle in the back, outrunning and outsmarting almost every attacker with incredible composure and dare I say elegance? Sarah and Caro flanked the wings as we tried our best to pull wide and avoid the opponent’s annoyingly persistent preference for long balls.
Fast-forward a few plays and things started to get a bit more heated. More fouls were called, several against our captain Sophia, who did an excellent job of shutting them down in the midfield. Louise kept up the pressure as well, relentlessly attacking Sibret in the middle and taking a couple of nasty spills in the process. With Juliette leading up top and ducking back to create opportunities for our midfield, we tried to press and hold our shape.
Coming in strong from the back, Isabel and Caro had a few chances down the left side that ended with the ball hovering around the opponent’s box. Sadly, we were unable to put it away, squandering some well-timed passes and through balls. To add salt to the wound, we let one in near the end of the half, bringing the score to 0-1 at halftime.
Intermission! Some strong words of encouragement from our coaches, lots of hydration, and a bit of banana to add fuel to the fire. A few changes were made for the second half, and we returned to the pitch.
Right back at it went the ladies in green, trying to keep up the energy on our home field. Sibret didn’t give an inch, becoming increasingly aggressive in tackles and in the air. Some amazing interceptions and passes from Sarah down the right wing shifted more of the plays into the opponent’s half.
Looking to even things up, the entire team pushed forward altogether which allowed Isabel to launch a perfectly timed throw to Mel down the left side. She managed to get it over to Sarah blazing in from the right. The result? A penalty kick in the box due to a defensive handball.
After a perfect penalty thanks to Sophia’s calm-under-pressure precision, the score was even, 1-1. Sara continued hustling their attackers in defense, and Clelia gave it her all before Marriane came on at right back. She immediately stole a pass from a rather dumbfounded attacker, and FCI took back the momentum momentarily. Rebecca rushed on to add some much-needed intensity and muddled their offense for good measure.
Not to be outdone, Sibret unfortunately acquired a series of well-paced attacks resulting in another goal for the opposition in grey. Even so, Olatz was all over their shots, even when the opposing striker came too close for comfort, legs flailing dangerously close to her face. Michelle kept up the pressure in the back, stopping several dangerous runs in a row. Cintia added some strong support on the left, looking for those through balls up to our offense. So, the opposing forces had been a “tad rough” as they say, and a few ladies in green decided enough was enough. Pretty sure Louise took three tackles in a row along the left sideline…
Done with the borderline hostility and not-so-lady-like shoving, our captain Sophia decided to lead by example by adding some extra weight around the hips of her player as she tried to turn. Some may call it grabbing, but we all know it was entirely accidental; a mere graze. The eagle-eyed ref was quick to gift her the first (official) yellow card of the season.
Even though Sibret snuck in another putting us at 1-3, we tried to keep up our energy and look for open spaces and opportunities. With only a few minutes to spare, FCI attempted several plays down both sides, trying to hit Cintia or Sarah down the line. Isabel got off some beautiful passes, but with everyone’s energy dipping, it proved difficult to secure another goal before the final whistle blew. Final score, 1-3. With heads held high, the ladies in green will be back on the pitch after some rest (and funky beers!) to train for the next game and fight for those points!
*** Note: if you return to check the first letter of each paragraph, you may become privy to a particularly encouraging message.
On Saturday, the FCI’s first women’s team lost their first match of the season against White Star Woluwe 5-0.
White Star started well into the match and put FCI under pressure right at the beginning. After an unfortunate pass in FCI’s build-up play, White Star had their first chance right after a good 30 seconds, which just missed the goal. FCI found it difficult to get into the game at the start, but had caught on after 10 minutes. The opponent was able to get several scoring chances in the first half of the match. Some were great saved by our goalkeeper Marie, other chances were excellently defended by the defense around Michèle and Sarah C.. Towards the end of the first half, FCI striker Mel had a good chance, but it was held by the opposing goalkeeper. The follow-up shot by Sarah H. also missed the goal, so that the score was 0:0 at halftime.
At the beginning of the second half, a questionable free kick was given near the 16 meter space for White Star. The cross from the half-right side was taken by White Star’a striker with a direct shot to make it 1-0. A short time later, white star increased the score to 2:0 with a goal that was strongly suspected of being offside. So it was after a good 60 minutes unfortunate 2-0 for White Star. In the further course of the game, the opponent was able to increase through two long-range shots and a header goal after a corner to 5-0.
Although this was not the desired start to the FCI season, we are motivated for upcoming training sessions and are already looking forward to our first win of the season.
All fixtures and results
FC Irlande Ladies 1
- Coach : Mathias Neelen
- Coach : John-Simon Sparks
- Captain : Sarah Cunningham
- Captain : Sophia Müller
Top goals scorers
- Melanie Keegan 8
- Parker Watson 2
- Sophia Müller 2
- Sydney Saunderson 1
- Sarah Herbreteau 1
- Momo Zubiria 1
- Noémie Letellier 1
Top goals assists
- Magdalena Zielonka 3
- Sarah Cunningham 2
- Sarah Herbreteau 1
- Juliette Egal 1
- Melanie Keegan 1
- Sydney Saunderson 1
- Sophia Müller 1