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Published: 22:09 | 12/6/18

Bell hails positives despite World Cup exit

Ireland women's head coach Colin Bell insisted there were encouraging signs for the future despite a 1-0 defeat in Norway ending any hopes of World Cup qualification.

After a promising start to Group 3, only a win Stavanger and in their final group match against Northern Ireland in August would have given the Girls in Green any chance of claiming a play-off spot.

But a Caroline Graham Hansen spot kick midway through the first-half was enough to give the top-seeded hosts the points.

It means Ireland can not do better than third place and now trail group leaders Netherlands by six points and Norway by five points - both having played a game less.

“I’m very proud of the players," said Bell. "We’ve created a number of openings and we should have got something out of the game.

“It’s really tough on the players as they’ve given their all for the entire 90 minutes and if we can take one of the many chances we created, we’d be coming away with a brilliant result.

“I can’t fault the effort of the players and the progress this young team has made. We’ve got a number of players sidelined by injury and other players have had to stand up. We may be out of the World Cup but the signs of progress give me real hope for the future.”

It was not the dream scenario for Ireland's Aine O'Gorman on the night of her 100th cap but Ireland put up a better performance than the one on Friday night when they went down 2-0 to the same opposition at Tallaght Stadium.

The decisive goal came after Claire O’Riordan brought down Caroline Graham Hansen in the box who then dusted herself down and fired the spot kick low in the corner of the net.

The home side enjoyed most of the possession and territory and Louise Quinn denied Norway a second clearing off the line from Ingrid Syrstad Engen.

Ireland keeper Marie Hourinhan came to the rescue to block Isabell Herlovsen when clean through while her opposite number Ingrid Hjelmseth produced a fine save tp deny captain Katie McCabe a leveler in the closing stages.

Image: Inpho/ Andrew Halseid Budd 

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