Northern Ireland Women book the nation’s first grand final by beating Ukraine to secure a spot in Euro 2022 as First Minister Arlene Foster greets the “crack the glass” stars.
- Northern Ireland has reached Euro 2022 for women after beating Ukraine
- Marissa Callaghan and Nadene Caldwell scored a 2-0 win in the second leg
- First Minister Arlene Foster paid tribute to the team on her Twitter account
Marissa Callaghan and Nadene Caldwell confirmed Northern Ireland’s qualification for their first grand final when they reached the women’s Euro 2022 with a 2-0 win in the play-off second leg against Ukraine.
Skipper Callaghan’s 55th-minute goal gave her side the lead at Seaview in Belfast before substitute Caldwell stepped deep into stoppage time to make it 4-1.
Kenny Shiels’ side, who won 2-1 in Kovalivka on Friday, got off to a brilliant start, threatening a series of early set pieces that keep keeper Kateryna Samson under repeated pressure.
Marissa Callaghan and Nadene Caldwell (picture) scored the decisive 2-0 win against Ukraine
Northern Ireland reached the women’s Euro 2022 and their first grand final
However, when Ukraine’s broad midfielders Olha Boychenko and Olha Ovdiychuk made an impression, they were reminded that their job was far from over.
Everton’s striker Simone Magill, who scored Northern Ireland winners in the first leg, tested Samson from a tight angle 12 minutes before the break, but keeper Jackie Burns was relieved when Daryna Apanashenko pulled her shot out in first-half added time.
In a messy start to the second half, the home team dominated without creating any real chances and when they finally took the lead that night it was a result of persistence rather than quality.
First Minister paid tribute to Arlene Foster by saying the women had “cracked a glass ceiling”.
Callaghan scrambled to support Julie Nelson’s deep free kick, and when defender Darya Kravets hesitated, she chased the loose ball down and stabbed it past Samson.
The guests broke up over time when midfielder Natiya Pantsulaya was sent off for a cynical foul on Sarah McFadden before Caldwell took care of it in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
First Minister Arlene Foster presided over the honors, saying the women cracked a glass ceiling.
“Fantastic for @NorthernIreland, another crack in the glass ceiling,” she tweeted.
‘So proud of everything this team has achieved. Exactly what the country needs right now. Thank you story