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2021-09-21T18:00:00+00:00
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CommBank Matildas go down to Ireland as Fowler strikes twice

The Commonwealth Bank Matildas have gone down to the Republic of Ireland 3-2 at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. 

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In an historic first meeting between the two nations, it was the Irish who would come away with the win. 

An early Lucy Quinn free-kick set the tone with Denise O'Sullivan and Louise Quinn adding to the tally. A Mary Fowler double kept the Aussies in the game but it wasn't enough to get the victory. 

It was a bright start for the team in green. Within the opening two minutes, Ireland had taken the lead from a Lucy Quinn free-kick. It hit the post and bounced into the goal off Mackenzie Arnold who was credited with the own goal. 

The Commonwealth Bank Matildas recovered from the early goal and equalised just before the quarter hour mark through Mary Fowler. 

A long ball from Courtney Nevin in defence found Emily Gielnik. Her deft lay-off found Fowler who shot and scored for her third international goal. 

With parity restored the physical encounter that Head Coach Tony Gustavsson predicted eventuated, with both sides exchanging chances. 

Fowler was involved once again, playing a ball out wide to Tameka Yallop.

Her cross found the head of Sam Kerr, who was playing in her 100th game for the national team, but the captain's header was aimed right at Courtney Brosnan in the Irish goal. 

Down the other end a mazy run from Heather Payne forced a top-class save with her feet from Mackenzie Arnold. 

It wouldn't be too long before Ireland reclaimed the lead, this time through Denise O'Sullivan. Her strike in after a poor half clearance from the Australians spun like a cricket ball, bamboozling Arnold and deviating past the 'keeper. 

The Commonwealth Bank Matildas worked hard to find another equaliser with Kerr, Yallop and Emily Gielnik combining to create a few chances but it would be Fowler who ensured the teams were level at half time. 

Just before the break, Fowler received the ball and twisted and turned to create the space to get a shot away. A wicked deflection meant there was nothing Brosnan could do to keep it out. 

The second half saw the introduction of Emma Checker and Lydia Williams as well as a slew of international debuts. Clare Wheeler, Angie Beard and Charli Grant all made their first appearances for Australia. 

However, it was Ireland who would once again start brightest, scoring within the first five minutes of the half. 

Another set piece saw Louise Quinn run into space and head past Williams to put Ireland ahead.

While the Commonwealth Bank Matildas searched for another goal, the team couldn't find the back of the net. 

The loss was further soured by an injury to Chloe Logarzo who was helped off the pitch in the 53rd minute after going down, clutching her knee. 

The Commonwealth Bank Matildas will now return to their club sides. 

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