O’Neill looking to gain momentum

first_imgMichael O’Neill rates Sunday’s victory in Hungary as his best result in charge of Northern Ireland but insists it will only matter if they follow up by beating the Faroe Islands next month. Press Association O’Neill has previously overseen a home win against Fabio Capello’s Russia and a 1-1 draw with Portugal in Porto, but the 2-1 success in Budapest immediately overtook both as his favourite result since taking over from Nigel Worthington. That is down to timing more than anything, with close-range finishes from Niall McGinn and Kyle Lafferty giving Northern Ireland the best possible start to Euro 2016 qualifying. “But we can’t get ahead of ourselves. These are the kind of games, when we’re underdogs, that we go out and pick up points, but it’s the next game against the Faroe Islands – when we should beat them – those are the games where we’ve struggled.” Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis was also celebrating, having led his side to the first away victory of his tenure. The Southampton midfielder has long been a shining light in otherwise unimpressive performances, but this time the 29-year-old was able to reflect on a positive display. “We’re not going to get carried away but we caused them problems and I think we deserved the win,” he said. “Everybody gave their all and that’s what it’s going to take if we’re going to do anything out of this group. “Of course we know we’re not going to come away from home and dominate possession against quality sides but we’re going to try and build on this and get a bit of consistency. “Hungary are a good side and are ranked above us, but I thought we were really disciplined in our play and had to be patient at times. “Whenever we got a chance to play we put some nice patterns together. “But we also had that kind of ruthlessness in the final third which you need in games like this.” But despite the good feeling created by a first away win in over four years, O’Neill is already looking to the next test – a visit from Group F’s relative minnows. “This results feels bigger than Russia or Portugal because it means we’ve started the campaign on the front foot with three points away from home,” he said. “I felt we missed the opportunity to get some momentum going early in the last campaign but we haven’t missed it this time and that means we need to push on from here. “The truth is these three points are only as valuable as what we make of them. “We have a home game against the Faroes now which sets us up to be in a good position after a couple of games, but we have to make sure we do that.” Lafferty, who did more than anyone to drag his side over the line, echoed those sentiments. The 26-year-old Norwich striker made the piercing run and cross that teed up McGinn for the equaliser 10 minutes from time and then showed admirable endeavour to hook the winner over the line in a scramble. But looking ahead to the next test, he said: “When we dig deep, we’ll pick up points and we’ve done that this time. last_img read more

Softball: Wisconsin falls to Oregon in NCAA tournament

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin softball team ended their NCAA women’s College World Series run Sunday, falling to Oregon for the second time that weekend.The Badgers (35-17, 11-11 Big Ten) started off their tournament run with a bang, taking down the University of Missouri (29-28, 7-16 SEC) Friday night with a 7-2 victory. This win allowed Wisconsin to continue on in the tournament and face the University of Oregon (50-6, 17-6 PAC-12) the following Saturday.Saturday’s game was a nail-biter between the Big Ten and the Pac-12, with Wisconsin challenging Oregon every step of the way. The Badgers managed to take the lead early on in the series, with a 5-2 edge over the Ducks heading into the sixth period.Softball: Wisconsin heads to NCAA tournament for sixth timeFor the sixth time in 20 years, the University of Wisconsin women’s softball team has earned a spot in the 2017 Read…The Ducks managed to come back with four runs in the final three innings, and the Badgers would win up falling 5-6. Since the World Series is a double-elimination tournament, the Badgers still had a shot at moving on in the tournament, as long as they managed to beat the University of Illinois-Chicago (39-22, 20-4 Horizon).Wisconsin had a short turn-around, with less than two hours between the two games Saturday. UIC had previously lost to Oregon Friday, and they were still fighting for their place in the tournament.With a 2-0 victory for the Badgers, Sunday’s game was scheduled, with a rematch between Oregon and Wisconsin taking place at 6 p.m. Wisconsin was hoping to find redemption in their second meeting with the Ducks, but the only thing they would find was disappointment.Softball: Errors and missed opportunities haunt Wisconsin in sweepAfter an extensive road trip, the Wisconsin Badgers softball came home to a scrappy Nebraska team, dropping their first series Read…Oregon is a team that is known for creating tremendous scoring opportunities, and once they get a scoring streak started, it is hard to stop them. The Badgers managed to hold the Ducks back Saturday, but they did not have the same luck Sunday.The Ducks started a scoring run early on in the first period, managing to take four runs from the Badgers. Oregon would continue this momentum in the fourth, when they would manage to garner another five runs in the period.The Badgers struggled to keep up, with inning after inning resulting in a scoreless scoreboard for UW. After the Ducks managed to score their ninth run in total, and the Badgers failed to score in the top of the fifth period, the game was called in Oregon’s favor.The Badgers might not have gotten the ending that they wanted, but they still managed to create some waves during their short appearance at the College World Series. If this year is indicative of anything, it is that Wisconsin is showing early signs of becoming a national powerhouse.Softball: Badgers improve on best start in program historyThe University of Wisconsin softball team continued rolling in this young season, improving to 12-2 on the year after the Read…last_img read more