The Republic of Ireland Women's National Team suffered a narrow defeat to Portugal in the first of two international friendlies in the Azores this week.

Dolores Silva's second-half penalty separated the two sides as the hosts claimed victory ahead of the second friendly on Sunday, January 21st.

The Irish team included Tyler Toland from St. Johnston and Amber Barrett from Milford.

Roma McLaughlin and Amy Boyle Carr were among the unused substitutes.

Colin Bell handed Galway WFC defender Aislinn Meaney her senior international debut and also awarded Peamount United forward Heather Payne with her first start for the senior side after an impressive 2017 in the Continental Tyres Women's National League.

It was Payne who Ireland's only chance of the opening 45 minutes. Captain Katie McCabe found the industrious Amber Barrett on the right and after creating space, her low cross to the edge of the six-yard area was put narrowly over the bar by Payne.

The hosts created very little in a quiet first-half but went ahead with 14 minutes gone after the break after Andreia Norton was brought down in the area by Tyler Toland. Captain Dolores Silva stepped up and found the right-hand corner, despite the best efforts of Marie Hourihan.

Colin Bell brought on Leanne Kiernan, Ruesha Littelejohn and Claire O'Riordan but struggled to create any goal-scoring chances against a resolute Portuguese defence. Tatiana Pinto fired narrowly over the bar in the final minutes of the game as the hosts claim victory in the first of two international friendlies this week.

Republic of Ireland: Hourihan (GK), Meaney (Kiernan 70), Caldwell, Quinn, Fahey, Scott, Toland (O'Riordan 87), O'Sullivan, McCabe (C), Payne, Barrett (Littlejohn 81).

Republic of Ireland WNT squad

Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (Manchester City), Amanda Budden (Cork City WFC), Amanda McQuillan (Shelbourne Ladies)

Defenders: Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Harriet Scott (Reading), Niamh Fahey (Bordeaux), Aislinn Meaney (Galway WFC), Eabha O'Mahony (Lakewood)

Midfielders: Tyler Toland (Maiden City), Denise O'Sullivan (NC Courage), Roma McLaughlin (Shelbourne Ladies), Amy Boyle Carr (Sion Swifts)

Forwards: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Amber Barrett (Peamount United), Leanne Kiernan (Shelbourne Ladies), Heather Payne (Peamount United), Isibeal Atkinson (Shelbourne Ladies), Zara Foley (Lakewood), Claire O'Riordan (Wexford Youths WFC), Ruesha Littlejohn (Celtic)

International Friendly Result

January 18: Portugal 1-0 Republic of Ireland, Estadio San Miguel, 7pm (6pm local time)

International Friendly Fixture

January 21: Portugal v Republic of Ireland, Estadio San Miguel, 5pm (4pm local time)

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