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An excellent second half strike from Katie McCabe saw the Republic of Ireland rescue a 1-1 draw from their World Cup qualifier with Slovakia. 

Record ticket sales and back-to-back home games had raised expectations around a nippy Tallaght Stadium and, while it may be viewed as two points dropped, a share of the spoils was ultimately fair.

However, the draw means Vera Pauw's side must beat Georgia if they're to maintain any genuine hope of stealing a playoff place in Group A.

Ireland won the opening arm wrestle, with Katie McCabe and Denise O'Sullivan's creativity causing problems for the more physical Slovaks.

Ireland's first real semblance of a chance came on the 10-minute mark, when McCabe flashed a ball across the visitors' box, but Lucy Quinn was unable to apply the finishing touch.

However, as the half wore on Ireland became counter-punchers to a well-organised Slovak outfit who appeared more comfortable in possession and able to pin Ireland into their own half - even if chances were few.

When the hosts next threatened, it was again the Birmingham striker Quinn who couldn't get enough purchase on her header following a testing cross from the right from Aine O'Gorman.

Courtney Brosnan was forced into a neat save at her near post when Slovak captain Dominika Skorvankova outfoxed Louise Quinn and unleashed a low shot.

Quinn almost made amends seconds later, when her header from a booming corner drew a save from Maria Korenciova.

There was barely a minute played in the second half when Slovakia took the lead. Ludmila Matavkova had acres of room to exploit on the left hand side of a stretched Ireland defence. Her cross was met by Martina Surnovska who - having slipped the marking of Niamh Fahey - directed the ball past Brosnan.

Ireland needed to be cuter with the ball, and their first opening of the second half saw Megan Connolly force a save from Korenciova with a low shot from distance.

McCabe made it 1-1 midway through the second half. Running across the box to a breaking ball from O'Sullivan, the captain arrowed a shot beyond the reach of the Slovak keeper.

The goal came after Ireland's best period of sustained pressure, with Slovakia seemingly happy to sit on a one-goal lead.

Louise Quinn came to Brosnan's rescue a quarter of an hour from time. The keeper's heavy touch from an innocuous Fahey backpass almost opened the door for Patricia Hmirova, before Quinn got back to turn substitute Laura Zemberyova's shot around the upright.

McCabe frequently raised the volume from the 6,000+ chilled souls in Tallaght as the clock ran out, sending searching balls into the visitors' area - none of which could tempt a real shot in anger.

Despite the efforts of the Arsenal winger, the sides finished level.

Georgia visit on Tuesday, when victory will be imperative.

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Aine O'Gorman Courtney Brosnan Denise O'Sullivan Ireland Katie Mccabe Louise Quinn Lucy Quinn Megan Connolly Republic Of Ireland Slovakia Vera Pauw Women's World Cup Women's World Cup Qualifiers

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