Northern Ireland fell to a 4-0 World Cup qualifying defeat after a disappointing display against the Republic of Ireland at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night
It was the Republic of Ireland who took the lead after three minutes as Leanne Kiernan of West Ham United was played in by Diane Caldwell before lobbing the ball over Jacquline Burns and into the net.
However on seven minutes Marissa Callaghan could have equalised for Alfie Wylie’s side as she met a Billie Simpson cross at the back-post but she sliced her effort wide when she really should have hit the target.
It was Colin Bell’s side who doubled their lead shortly after as Katie McCabe who plays her club football at Arsenal drilled the ball into the top corner after Burns had saved the initial shot from Tyler Toland.
Lauren Wade, on her return to the Northern Ireland set-up, could have pulled a goal back on 18 minutes as she linked up with Simone Magill but she could only fire into the gloves of Amanda Budden who was making her international debut.
However, the hosts extended their lead as Denise O’Sullivan played a defence splitting pass into Kiernan before she fired her strike across Burns and into the net.
Northern Ireland were struggling to deal with the pace from the home side and they could have extended their lead on 38 minutes when Kiernan was beaten to the ball by Jessica Foy just in time to stop the West Ham star netting her hat-trick after a cross from Rianna Jarret.
On the stroke of the break it was the home side once again who created yet another chance as Toland’s freekick was well headed away by Julie Nelson as McCabe was lurking to pounce at the back-post.
The Republic had dominated for most fo the second half, but for all their efforts it was Burns who completed the scoring from the penalty spot.