FC Irlande Ladies 1

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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

#1 August 27, 2022 Femina White Star Woluwe B 5 - 0 Report FC Irlande Ladies 1
#2 September 3, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 1 1 - 3 Report Wallonia Club Sibret A
#3 September 11, 2022 BX Brussels 4 - 1 Report FC Irlande Ladies 1
#4 September 17, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 1 3 - 1 Report K. St.-Truidense V.V.A
#5 October 1, 2022 Efa Manhay A 4 - 3 Report FC Irlande Ladies 1
#6 October 15, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 1 - Sporting Du Pays De Charleroi B
#7 October 22, 2022 R.W.D. Molenbeek Girls - FC Irlande Ladies 1
#8 October 29, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 1 - FC Alken
#9 November 5, 2022 R.U.S.Loyers - FC Irlande Ladies 1
#10 November 19, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 1 - KVV Vosselaar
#11 November 26, 2022 Renaissance A.E.C. Mons B - FC Irlande Ladies 1
#12 December 3, 2022 KV Mechelen B - FC Irlande Ladies 1
#13 December 10, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 1 - R. Standard de Liège C
#14 January 14, 2023 FC Irlande Ladies 1 - Femina White Star Woluwe B

FC Irlande Ladies 1

  • Coach : Mathias Neelen
  • Coach : John-Simon Sparks
  • Captain : Sarah Cunningham
  • Captain : Sophia Müller
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