London City Lionesses pair Alli Murphy and Hayley Nolan made their debuts for the Republic of Ireland as they fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Belgium in Brussels this evening.
Murphy started the match and played the first 45 minutes for Vera Pauw’s side while club teammate Nolan came on 16 minutes from time for her maiden appearance for The Girls in Green.
The game’s only goal came after just 14 minutes when Laura De Neve delivered a free kick into the box and Tine De Caigny beat Republic of Ireland keeper Courtney Brosnan to the ball to put the hosts 1-0 up.
Belgium went close to doubling their lead later in the half when Janice Cayman forced a good save from Brosnan before Heather Payne struck a weak shot at Justien Odeurs at the other end.
In the second half, De Caigny wasted two opportunities to double both hers and her side’s goal tally before Belgian keeper Odeurs pulled off a stunning save to keep Ruesha Littlejohn’s free-kick out of the net.
The Republic of Ireland should have completed the match on level terms when Louise Quinn headed the ball into the path of Rianna Jarrett but Odeurs somehow kept her shot out as Belgium ended the game 1-0 winners.
Pauw’s side end the current international window with two narrow defeats.