Sports Review 2023: Magical moment as Katie McCabe creates history

Fittingly it was Ireland’s inspirational captain who scored her country’s first ever goal in the Women’s World Cup

Choosing a personal favourite sporting moment of 2023 isn’t easy. No doubt, the Women’s World Cup will feature on many a sporting round-up this year and this one is no different.

Ireland had moved on from Sydney, where they’d surprised everyone with a competitive display against the host nation, losing out only to an Australian penalty.

And that game had shifted the perspective of Ireland’s expectations. The narrative that Ireland did well against bigger, more experienced countries hadn’t yet been written. Anything could happen in a World Cup.

Sydney had been in the public conversations leading up to the World Cup, but there was little said about Perth, aside from some choice comments from Beverley Priestman, Canada’s manager, in the days before the game. Some travelling fans even opted to go directly from Sydney to Brisbane. The Rectangular stadium was smaller with a capacity of 20,500, and the weather was worse.

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The first half started on a dry note but the rain quickly came bucketing down, with no sign of stopping. The stadium was filled to the brim with Irish fans and the roar of Amhrán na bhFiann felt – unbelievably – louder than that in Stadium Australia in Sydney.

A mere four minutes into the game, McCabe stood to take the corner, the ball arching in over the stretched arms of Kailen Sheridan, the Canadian goalkeeper. Goal. The iconic photo will be remembered; McCabe’s arms outstretched and her team-mates running to her from behind, jubilant at taking the lead so early on.

History was made and – even just temporarily – it felt like Ireland were invincible, that luck was in our favour and that things were unfolding as if by fate.

Of course it would be Katie McCabe, the beloved skipper and face of women’s football in Ireland, who would get this first Irish Women’s World Cup goal. And of course, it would be an absolute belter, the first Olimpico goal in a World Cup in more than 60 years.

While the rest of the tournament, and the game, didn’t quite go the way we would have wanted, we’ll always have Paris Perth.

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