Goalscorer Nelson hailed as NI make tournament debut

The most capped player for the Northern Ireland Women’s team, Julie Nelson, has been praised after scoring her country’s first ever tournament goal.

The Larne native, who surpassed the 100-cap mark in 2018 for the Northern Irish Women’s team, made her debut in 2004.

The defender was a key part of NI’s qualifying campaign for this summer’s tournament in England.

Julie (37), who has played for clubs in Iceland, England and Scotland, currently is in her second spell at Crusaders Strikers FC.

Northern Ireland's Julie Nelson at the final whistle in Southampton. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye.

Although Kenny Shiels’ charges fell to a 4-1 defeat against Norway in Southampton last night (Thursday), plaudits have flooded in for Nelson, who found the net early in the second half.

Captain, Marissa Callaghan, took to Twitter after the clash to praise Julie.

The Cliftonville player said: “No one deserves this more. Julie has gave her life to the game. I’m so proud of you.”

Commenting on social media, a spokesperson for Larne FC Women branded Nelson a “history maker”, adding: “The first goal for Northern Ireland Women in a major tournament came from Larne woman Julie Nelson. Creating history for the GAWA, we’re proud of you Julie.”

Congratulating the east Antrim player, a spokesperson for governing body UEFA said: “37 years old. Tournament debut. Nation’s first ever finals goalscorer. Congratulations, Julie Nelson!”

Julie follows in the footsteps of Larne man Gareth McAuley, who scored the first goal at a European Championship finals for the senior men’s team in 2016.

Read More

Read More
‘Our belief helped us qualify for Euro finals’

Following Nelson’s goal, a spokesperson for the Spirit of 2016 podcast said: “Gareth McAuley (36 Years, 194 Days) - Northern Ireland’s first ever goalscorer at a men’s European Championships. Julie Nelson (37 Years, 33 Days) - Northern Ireland’s first ever goalscorer at a women’s European Championships. History makers. Legends.”

Northern Ireland face Austria in their second group game on Monday (July 11) before taking on tournament hosts England on July 15.