Ireland left it too late to come out of their defensive shell so despite dominating the game after Steph Catley converted a second-half penalty for Women’s World Cup co-hosts Australia they couldn’t manage to snatch what would have been a deserved equaliser.

Vera Pauw’s side got a boost before kick off when it was confirmed the Matilda’s would be without their captain as it was confirmed pre-match Sam Kerr had sustained a calf injury in training.

Despite this the Irish girls relied on what in fairness has been a tried and trusted counter attacking game and were so solid defensively that goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan was never really tested.

Pauw admitted afterwards that at half time she had said the game would be decided by one mistake and sadly that error came from Ireland.

It happened in the 52nd minute when Marissa Sheva was correctly penalised for a wholly unnecessary shove in the back of Hayley Raso, Catley fairly burying her spot kick in the top left corner.

Ireland threw off the shackles at that point and were unlucky to see a  Megan Connolly  free-kick whipped just over the angle of post and crossbar, before McCabe forced Mackenzie Arnold into a smart save from close range.

Then right at the death Louise Quinn was just off target with a header.

The defeat could in a strange way be the making of the team as now they have to go all out to get some points on board and for the last half an hour they showed how good they can be when they do.