Honours Even For The Green Army And Italy

Pembroke, Dublin

Ireland 2 (Evans, Wilson

Italy 2 (Vynohradova, Carta)

The Green Army came out of the blocks firing in their final home game before the World Cup as they won an early couple of penalty corners but credit to the Italians runners both Shirley McCay’s and Zoe Wilson’s efforts were blocked. Katie Mullan made a superb interception and then fed the ball to Deirdre Duke in front of goal; the shot appeared to be stopped on the line by a foot but in the scramble the ball was cleared. Italy took an unlikely lead in the 16thminute when a scuffed shot by Maryna Vynohradova deflected into the goal. But it took less than 20 seconds for Ireland to respond as Mullan sent a high reverse into the circle and Nikki Evans somehow managed to get a stick to deflect it just under the crossbar. Wilson gave her side the deserved lead from their third penalty corner as her power strike from the top of circle was driven low into the corner.

The game evened out somewhat in the second half as Italy won 2 penalty corners in quick succession but Grace O’Flanagan made two fine saves. Katie Mullan made a run from her own half into the 25 and sent a pass across the circle for the waiting Evans but the ball just missed her outstretched stick. Federica Carta drew the game level as she chipped over O’Flanagan after the initial PC strike was saved. The short corners seemed to come thick and fast for Italy then as they amassed a total of 8 but the Irish defence didn’t relent. The chances were equally notching up for the Green Army with Ali Meeke’s deflection going just wide and Hannah Matthews PC strike skimming past the post. Mullan won her side one final PC in the dying minutes of the fixture but the shot was sent high and wide.

Starting: N Evans, K Mullan (Captain), S McCay, E Tice, G Pinder, A McFerran, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson

Subs: G O’Flanagan, Y O’Bryne, M Frazer, E Beatty, C Watkins, D Duke, A Meeke

Green Army Beat Chile In 3 Nations Opener

3 Nations, Dublin

Ireland 1 (Beatty)

Chile 0

Ireland were the far livelier of the two in the opening half and could have taken the lead on more than one occasion. The ever-threatening Anna O’Flanagan picked up a long pass from Hannah Matthews but her reverse strike went across goal. Megan Frazer, playing her first senior international test in nearly 2 years, looked as sharp as ever as she sent passes through the eye of a needle and proved a potent threat with Zoe Wilson. Katie Mullan, earning her 150thcap this evening, was leading the charge as usual and won numerous long corners setting up attacks into the Chilean circle. Naomi Carroll drew a super save from Claudia Schuler as she deflected a ball in front of goal, Carroll was again on hand with some superb 3D skill to pick up a ball in the circle and fire a reverse volley. Each team won 1 penalty corner in the opening half; McCay’s sweep going wide for Ireland and Elene Tice making a save on the line from Carolina’s Garcia’s close range shot on the post at the other end.

The goal very nearly came in the opening minutes of the second half when O’Flanagan burst into the circle and sent a reverse strike goalward but Evans deflection put it inches past the post. 2 PC’s in quick succession for the Green Army looked likely to break the deadlock but Schuler again made a good save and Wilson’s strike was sent wide. Mullan was next to test the Chilean defense as she sent her reverse shot into the side netting. The goal came in the 43rdminute as Matthews sent a pinpoint reverse into the circle and Emily Beatty deflected the ball high into the net to give her side the lead. Grace O’Flanagan didn’t have a huge amount to do throughout but when called upon she made a superb diving save from a PC strike. The Green Army could well have extended their lead with the skills of Nicci Daly breaking open the Chilean backline but Schuler made 2 further saves from Evans close range effort.

Ireland’s next match is on Saturday at 2pm against Italy in Pembroke.

Starting: G O’Flanagan, N Evans, K Mullan (Captain), S McCay, E Tice, G Pinder, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson

Subs: Y O’Byrne, M Frazer, N Carroll, E Beatty, A McFerran, C Watkins, A Meeke

Green Machine Put 5 Past USA

UCD, Dublin

Ireland 5 (Magee x2, O’Donoghue, Duncan, Robson)

USA 1 (Kaeppler)

2 goals inside the opening 66 seconds stunned America and the crowd at UCD as the Green Machine asserted their dominance. A penalty corner in the 29thsecond appeared to be deflected in by Sean Murray though Shane O’Donoghue was formally awarded the goal. Seconds later and Eugene Magee had doubled the lead as he chipped Jonathan Klages from the right baseline. Matthew Nelson created the third with a powerful run down the left wing and a high reverse into the circle that Jeremy Duncan somehow got a stick to send it past Klages. It was 4-0 before half time, Magee again the scorer, this time with a powerful PC drag from Ireland’s third PC. USA got their goal on the cusp of half time with a well worked penalty corner of their own, Kei Kaeppler with the drag flick to take some of the sting out of the scoreline at the half.

The goals maybe have eased up in the second half but the Irish dominance of possession didn’t relent. Paul Gleghorne and Jonny Bell controlled play from the back with Shan O’Donoghue picking out passes at will. The majority of the time Fitzgerald was the only Irish man in his own half as the Americans were put under continuous pressure. Alan Sothern drew a superb high stick save from Jonathan Klages as he spun his marker and sent the ball aiming for the top corner. Michael Robson made it 5-1 as he went on a mazy run around the top of the circle to shoot on his reverse low into the corner. The Green Machine notched up a few more penalty corner chances but couldn’t quite add to their tally.

The two sides meet again tomorrow evening at 7pm in Pembroke Wanderers.

Starting: J Bell (Captain), S O’Connor, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, J McKee, M Robson, D Fitzgerald, P Gleghorne, J Duncan, S Loughrey

Subs: J Carr, L Madeley, M Nelson, A Sothern, D Walsh