Northern Ireland Euros qualification is another milestone for women's sport

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland have made 2021 a year for the history books after qualifying for next year's European Women's Championship. 

Celebrations went on long into the night after the final whistle in Belfast. The Northern Ireland national team secured a 2-0 win over Ukraine at the Seaview Stadium and cemented their place in their first ever major international tournament.

It was Marissa Callaghan's second half opener and a Nadene Caldwell goal in the dying embers of the match that took the Green and Whites to glory. The win finished off a 4-1 aggregate win for Kenny Shiels and his side as they thwarted Ukraine in the Euros play-offs.

The previous leg featured goals from Rachel Furness and Simone Magill for Northern Ireland. Despite Daryna Apanashchenko netting for the Ukrainians, it wasn't enough for her side.

"Last night’s historic win, which will see this fantastic group of footballers compete in their first major tournament, is testament to the skill and determination of all the players led by captain Marissa Callaghan and manager Kenny Shiels," Sinn Fein minister Deirdre Hargey said after the incredible winning moment.

After a weekend full of milestones for women's sport – including Rachael Blackmore becoming the first female Grand National winner – this is the perfect advertisement for how much female athletes are working on breaking through the glass ceiling.

Reading captain and Wales icon Natasha Harding wished the Northern Irish players the best of luck in the competition with a heartfelt tweet after the match. The Welsh failed to qualify for the Euros despite giving their all in their play-off run.

Northern Ireland will join the most elite European heavyweights in 2022 for what promises to be a massive milestone in the country's history.

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