Northern Irish women book country’s first grand final by beating Ukraine to secure a seat at Euro 2022 – as Prime Minister Arlene Foster praises stars for ‘cracking the glass ceiling’
- Northern Ireland has reached the Women’s Euro 2022 after beating Ukraine
- Marissa Callaghan and Nadene Caldwell scored in a 2-0 win in the second leg
- Prime Minister Arlene Foster paid tribute to the team using 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 play-off win over Ukraine.
Skipper Callaghan’s 55-minute attack put her in the lead at Seaview in Belfast, before substitute Caldwell added a second deep into injury time to make it 4-1.
Kenny Shiels’ squad, which won 2-1 in Kovalivka on Friday, started brightly and threatened from a series of early set pieces that repeatedly put pressure on goalkeeper Kateryna Samson.
Marissa Callaghan and Nadene Caldwell (pictured) scored in the crucial 2-0 win over Ukraine
Northern Ireland reached the Women’s Euro 2022, and with it their first grand final
But when Ukraine’s broad midfielders Olha Boychenko and Olha Ovdiychuk began to impress, they were reminded that their task was far from finished.
Everton forward Simone Magill, who scored the Northern Ireland winner in the first leg, tested Samson from a tight corner 12 minutes before half time, but goalkeeper Jackie Burns was relieved to see Daryna Apanaschenko dragging her shot wide in extra time in the first half.
In a sloppy start to the second half, the home side dominated without creating any real chances and when they finally took the lead on the evening it was more persistence than quality.
Prime Minister Arlene Foster paid tribute by saying women ‘broke glass ceiling’
Callaghan climbed to assist in Julie Nelson’s deep free kick and while defender Darya Kravets hesitated, she chased the loose ball and stabbed it past Samson.
The visitors separated as time went on 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 extra time.
Prime Minister Arlene Foster led the tribute, saying the women had broken a glass ceiling.
‘Fantastic for @N NorthernIreland another crack in the glass ceiling,’ she tweeted.
‘So proud of everything this team has achieved. Just what the country needs right now. Thanks history