It was only the last week of January and Dublin were severely understrength
, but there was much to admire about how Offaly went about their business.
City - minus Katie McCabe and Leanne Crichton - were unable to muster a second-half fightback.
AZERBAIJAN 0 NORTHERN IRELAND 1 NORTHERN IRELAND'S spirit once again came to the fore for boss Michael O'Neill as his understrength
side claimed a dramatic 1-0 success over Azerbaijan.
Ireland lost 1-0 at home to Iceland in a March friendly but Martin O'Neill's side are usually strong at the Aviva Stadium, particularly in qualifying.
e Irish did brilliantly to beat Italy and qualify, even if the Azzurri were understrength
Andy Burke secured an outstanding 6-1 win for VMH B over Woodcutters, while an understrength
SAMH B were overwhelmed by VMH D, suffering a 6-1 defeat
Both sides were understrength
and experimented with a few positional changes, but the more experienced Crusaders, who are linked with and indeed train alongside Warrington Wolves, had too much strength in the depth in the end.
The club were criticised by Spurs last year for sending an understrength
side under John Collins to the friendly in Helsinki on the weekend between Champions League qualifiers.
Prolific hotshots Eleni Tsappis (12 pen, 14, 46, 48, 50) playing her last season in the league and Reema Al Qassab (13, 33, 40) did the damage against an understrength
They were comfortably winners in their clash with Northumbria Vikings at Heckmondwike's Firth Park track, when the visitors fielded an understrength
team, but then added the scalp of Stockport with an impressive 27-23 success.
Pardew and his players owe the Toon Army a performance in the FA Cup after the debacle at Brighton last season when an understrength
side bowed out 2-0 and without a whimper on the south coast in the third round.
Summary: Madrid: Lionel Messi notched up his 35th league goal of the season as an understrength