Ireland's captain, Katie McCabe, has admitted that she is heartbroken that Ireland are now out of the World Cup, but also reiterated that she is immensely proud of the team despite the 2-1 loss to Canada in Perth.
The Girls in Green took the lead against the Olympic champions within 5 minutes, thanks to Katie McCabe's inswinging corner. Vera Pauw's side was the better team in the first half, but near the end of it, Julia Grosso's low cross slipped through the Ireland defense in the rain. The attempted cross deflected off Connolly's studs and ended up in the bottom corner of the net.
Canada would then take the lead in the second half, thanks to Sophie Schmidt's well-timed pass that found Adriana Leon in the Irish box.
Ireland huffed and puffed, but was unable to keep their World Cup dream alive after the loss. The game against Nigeria next week has now become a dead rubber.
Despite the loss, McCabe described the opportunity to captain her country as 'bittersweet'.
"To captain these girls is an absolute honor and a privilege," reflected McCabe after the game.
"All the girls stepping up, like Larko, that's the future of this team. I'm so proud of this team, staff included; we've done so much to get here. We know the level now and we're going to be hungry for more.
"It's bittersweet, isn't it?"
A heartbroken Katie McCabe felt Ireland 'deserved a lot more from the game' as they ultimately fell to a 2-1 defeat against Canada #FIFAWomensWorldCup2023 #rtsoccer #coygig #faiwomen pic.twitter.com/V6TmnIRHbF
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) July 26, 2023
The Ireland captain also admitted that she was 'heartbroken' after the result, but also claimed there were positives to take despite their second loss in the group.
"I'm just heartbroken for the girls because I feel that we deserved so much more from the game, just heartbroken.
"I think we took a lot of positives from the second half against Australia, so we backed ourselves going forward; we knew we had the quality and the pace. So we wanted to start with a lot of energy. It's just about capitalizing on those moments.
"Even with the equalizer, it was unfortunate, it was a sucker-punch, but even then, we felt we could push for another goal. Then they scored.
The focus is now firmly on the Nigera tie. McCabe wants to give the Irish fans something to cheer about next Monday.
"Against Nigeria, we want to end this on a high, to give the fans something to cheer about because they were absolutely immense all game."
Ireland's next game against Nigeria will take place on Monday and will kick-off at 11 pm.
Republic of Ireland: Courtney Brosnan; Aine O’Gorman (Marissa Sheva 59), Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Megan Connolly, Katie McCabe; Lucy Quinn (Abbie Larkin 45), Denise O'Sullivan, Sinead Farrelly (Izzy Atkinson 65), Ruesha Littlejohn (Lily Agg 65); Kyra Carusa (Amber Barrett 65)
Canada: Kailen Sheridan; Kadeisha Buchanan (Shelina Zadorsky 45), Jayde Riviere (Allysha Chapman 90), Ashley Lawrence, Vanessa Gilles; Quinn, Julia Grosso (Sophie Schmidt 45), Jessie Fleming; Jordyn Huitema, Adriana Leon (Cloe Lacasse 59), Eveleyne Veins (Christine Sinclair 45)
Referee: Laura Fortunato (Argentina)