3 Years After Retiring, Heather O’Reilly Scores In First Champions League Match Of Career

Heather O’Reilly is backing up that smack talk she levied at Cristiano Ronaldo earlier this week.

O’Reilly, a 37-year-old World Cup winner and three-time Olympic gold medalist, came out of three years of retirement in July to join Irish champion Shelbourne to fulfill her dream of playing in the Champions League. That moment came on Thursday when she started in a Women’s Champions League qualifying match against ZNK Pomurje of Slovenia. 

Shelbourne won 1-0, with O’Reilly scoring the lone goal via a header in the fourth minute.

Heather O’Reilly Champions League Goal

What a moment for O’Reilly, who gave birth to her second child in November and was convinced to make a comeback by Arsène Wenger

“I can’t believe it actually happened today,” O’Reilly said after the match. “Obviously to score and that be the game winner is amazing, surreal, I can’t believe this happened. I didn’t think it was going to be possible in my career.”

Shelbourne now advances to play Iceland champion Valur on Sunday, with the winner advancing to a two-legged playoff in Round 2 of qualifying, from which 12 teams will advance to the 16-team group stage. 

The goal was the perfect response to all the haters who criticized O’Reilly for poking fun at the fact Ronaldo, another 37-year-old, will not be playing in the Champions League this season. 

For those keeping score at home, that’s one Champions League goal for HAO this season and zero for CR7.

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