Ireland Claims 5-1 Victory Over Scotland in First of Two Match Series in Final Prep for Europeans in June.

15 May 2021

Ireland 5 (Duke, Upton, Malseed, Carey, Evans), Scotland 1 (Burnet).

A short period of scattered play got the match marked off in the opening minutes before Deirdre Duke managed to strike from just inside the top of the circle and catch Scotland’s keeper off-guard. Hannah McLoughlin had the next opportunity of the match, applying pressure in the Scottish circle, but failed to convert it to the scoreboard. However, a penalty corner to Ireland with less than two minutes left in the first quarter saw Evans insert, deflection from McLoughlin before an Upton goal increased the lead to 2-0.

Malseed increased the Irish lead again in the opening minutes of the second quarter, and it wasn’t long before she was back pressing on the Scottish circle again. Scotland’s Burnet returned the challenge on the Irish circle moments later, but McFerran saved and pushed the ball back up the pitch where Ireland was awarded a penalty corner shortly afterwards. This time a shot from McLoughlin was saved and pushed out by the Scottish goalkeeper.

Scotland’s Sabatelli managed to create a chance for herself in front of the Irish goal. McFerran dived to save but the strike went wide of the mark. Caoimhe Perdue and Sarah McAuley played well throughout the second quarter before Katie Mullan created a chance for Naomi Carroll which was ultimately defended out. A penalty corner for Scotland saw Jamieson’s shot defended on the line by Shirley McCay, but the Burnet found the rebound to finally put Scotland on the scoreboard ahead of the half-time whistle went with a 3-1 lead to Ireland.

O’Flanagan and Evans pushed hard from the whistle to attack the Scotland defence, however, the eventual shot on the goal went too high. Michelle Carey was on form with a number of precise interventions, stealing possession back from Scotland on a number of occasions. The third quarter provided several chances for both sides. A flurry of chances for Ireland failed to return a goal, while McFerran saved two attempts from Scotland. An eventual cross circle shot from Duke was met perfectly by Carey who tapped it over the line to bring the score to Ireland 4-1 Scotland.

The final quarter saw a Watkins shot bounce off the Scotland keeper before Evans secured the rebound making it 5-1 to the hots. Sarah McAuley made her presence known to the Scottish attackers deftly intercepting as they approached the Irish circle. Scotland failed to convert their final penalty corner chance, while O’Flanagan shot wide in Ireland’s last real chance of the game. Scotland pressed in the final two minutes, however, fumbled in the circle and McFerran was able to kick the ball from harm’s way. Full-time score Ireland 5-1 Scotland.

Ireland: M Carey, N Carroll, L Colvin, D Duke, N Evans, S Hawkshaw, Z Malseed, S McAuley, A McFerran, S McCay, H McLoughlin, K Mullan, E Murphy, A O’Flanagan, C Perdue, R Upton, C Watkins.

Scotland: M Bell, J Buchanan, F Burnet, L Camlin, L Campbell, R Collins, B Condie, E Dark, J Eadie, K Holmes, S Jamieson, H McEwan, H Howie, K Robertson, L Sabatelli, F Semple, B Shields, M Steiger, E Wilson, B Ward.

Hockey Ireland has announced its decision to withdraw the U19 Boys and Girls National teams from competing in the EuroHockey Federation (EHF) European Championships in Valencia this July. The 2020 U18 EHF Championships were postponed last year, and an additional year was added to the age-group for 2021, making it an U19 event. The EHF distributed the tournament Covid-19 protocols this week and requested a decision from each Nation regarding their ability to travel and compete. Hockey Ireland are aware that a number of other nations have now also withdrawn.

Each nation has different levels of risk within their home country, along with different transport and quarantine requirements. The COVID-19 protocols were restrictive for underage players and costly to all the competing nations. It has been a very difficult decision for Hockey Ireland to make. However, several key factors from the protocols could not be overlooked and has led to this decision:

  • Government Guidelines state that all persons in the Republic of Ireland are advised against non-essential travel to any country. Elite Exemption for travel has only been granted to Hockey Ireland Senior programmes and professional sports teams within Ireland. Unfortunately, our U18 squads do not have elite exemption at this moment in time and are not guaranteed that the elite exemption stance on the U18 squads will change ahead of the tournament.
  • In line with Hockey Ireland safeguarding protocols, underage player and staff welfare is a priority. Hockey Ireland have concerns regarding the length of isolation periods should a player(s) test positive during the tournament or become close contacts, coupled with the fact that many travelling athletes would be U18 and would require an appropriate member of staff to remain nearby the isolation location in order to ensure their welfare.

Speaking on the decision, Performance Director Adam Grainger said, “This matter has been given careful deliberation. This was not an easy decision but one that was made with the players welfare in mind.

Following the decision to withdraw from the EHF European competition, Hockey Ireland have been discussing with the Home Nations regarding matches in July. We will be discussing this further with the management teams and will distribute information as soon as possible.”

The Green Army will take on Scotland this weekend, the 15th and 16th of May, in Queen’s University Belfast. The sides last met in July 2019, with Ireland coming away from the series in Stormont with two wins and a draw.

The uncapped matches will be part of the final home match preparations for this summer’s European Championships in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Ireland will face Scotland as part of Pool A in the European Championships in June. Tournament hosts, and World Number One, the Netherlands will also play in Pool A of the Championship, with Spain completing the group.

With the EuroHockey Championships now an integral aspect of the World Cup qualification process, the 2018 silver medallists will be keen to ensure they maximise every opportunity to allow them to perform this summer in Amstelveen not only as a warmup for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games but also to secure their spot in the 2022 World Cup.

The squad for these matches is as follows:

Carey Michelle Leinster                 Midfielder             Uncapped
Carroll Naomi Munster               Striker                     111
Colvin Lizzie Ulster                    Midfielder              196
Duke Deirdre Leinster                Midfielder               141
Evans Nicola Leinster                Striker                      198
Frazer Megan Ulster                   Midfielder                136
Hawkshaw Sarah Leinster                Midfielder                33
Malseed Zara Ulster                    Striker                      Uncapped
Matthews Hannah Leinster                Defender                 147
McAuley Sarah Leinster                Defender                 Uncapped
McCay Shirley Ulster                    Defender                306
McLoughlin Hannah Leinster                Defender                 14
McFerran Ayeisha Ulster                    Goalkeeper             100
Mullan Katie Ulster                    Midfielder               193
Murphy Elizabeth Leinster                Goalkeeper             13
O’Flanagan Anna Leinster                Striker                      207
O’Flanagan Grace Leinster                Goalkeeper             36
Torrans Sarah Leinster                Striker                      26
Upton Roisin Munster               Defender                 76
Watkins Chloe Leinster                Midfielder               226

Speaking on the announcement, Head Coach Sean Dancer, said “These are our final matches ahead of European selection. We’re really looking forward to getting some games under pressure in the lead up to a major tournament”.

These matches will not be lived streamed.

“How do you manage to fit in all the practice and still be a doctor as well?” Daniel, aged 9, to Irish goalkeeper Grace O’Flanagan.

The hand-written letter landed in her mailbox at the end of a 14-hour shift before heading into a weekend of training with the Green Army.

The letter landed in February 2020 as she was working her way back into Olympic contention having taken a year out in the wake of the 2018 World Cup silver medal run.

As second choice goalkeeper behind Ayeisha McFerran, O’Flanagan’s role was an understated but absolutely crucial one. But it was perhaps her intervention a year before which was the most vital save of all, denying Rani Rampal from the penalty flick spot with her first touch of the qualifiers.

McFerran had been sent to the sin-bin and India were one up; lose and Ireland were likely set to sit out another major tournament. She guess right, Ireland fought back and the bandwagon’s wheels started to roll.

In the wake of London’s heroics, though, O’Flanagan had to take a year out to focus on her job as a surgical trainee, soon to be a specialist registrar, before thinking about whether or not to battle for a place in the Tokyo squad.

“Safe to say, [that letter] brought a smile to my face!” Indeed, it’s a question the Railway Union shot-stopper has been trying to work out for the guts of a decade, marrying an intense career on and off the pitch.

“I love to try and balance it all but the reality is I had jobs where the hours were too much, I wouldn’t make training sessions. It was looking after my mental health, there’s only so much you can do, so I took the decision after the World Cup to take a break because I had been doing so much.”

When the pandemic hit and Tokyo 2020 postponed, it meant all hands on deck and she spent six months working frontline in COVID hospitals.

Gradually, though, international hockey came back into view in the autumn and now, with the vaccine roll-out in place, O’Flanagan has been able to take the decision to take work-leave and solely play hockey for the coming months with June’s European Championships and the reset Tokyo dates a month later.

“My availability for work would have been too little really. I didn’t want to leave my colleagues stretched or short-staffed so the easier thing was that I would focus on training especially considering the quarantine issue every time we travel.

“It would have been just too much time out of work had I been in and out. I’m definitely glad I’ve made that decision, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

“I think I would always have looked back and wondered ‘what if’ if I hadn’t given it everything I have, so that was my thinking going in to this. I’m enjoying every minute of it, but I’m looking forward to getting back to work. But this is an opportunity I had to go for.”

As such, it puts her in line for another loop on the rollercoaster of emotions. Eighteen months before the World Cup, she was diagnosed with cancer in her neck.

Her medical intuition suggested it was more than tight muscles after a tough training block. It allowed her to a catch an aggressive type of soft tissue sarcoma — an epithelioid variant of myxofibrosarcoma to be exact — early enough.

“I knew the kind of cancer they suspected and knew it had a poor outlook,” she said of that moment. “All of a sudden, I went from being a healthy 26-year-old to maybe not being alive in five years’ time. That was daunting!”

It is why she has an empathy with the powerful Darkness Into Light message and the ability to come back from your lowest moments, a central reason why she is delighted to be among the Pieta House fundraiser’s ambassadors.

“When I was asked, it was something I absolutely jumped at it,” she said. “My experience as a doctor and an athlete gives me a unique insight into the importance of mental health. 

“It is definitely part of everyday life for me in work and in my sport. As athletes, we have to pay really close attention to our physical but also our mental well-being, looking at how our mood is every day, our sleep, all those things make a difference to our performance.”

At work, meanwhile, she spent the first six months of the pandemic working in COVID hospitals where she saw all kinds of strain among her patients and colleagues.

“I see a lot of patients with mental health issues coming into hospitals in crisis. The reality is most of us know someone who struggles from mental health issues, most know someone affected by suicide. 

“That’s the importance of Darkness into Light and Pieta, helping them. The idea of 200,000 people coming together at one time for sunrise to show support, to show we are standing up for mental health issues, to show we are fighting against suicide is a really important message.

“It has been a difficult year for healthcare workers, for the health service, for our patients and the general public. Thankfully, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccines rolling out, numbers going down, things opening up. That’s really positive and we are seeing the relief in hospitals.”

Four out of ten people who access Pieta’s services cite loneliness as a trigger for seeking suicide prevention counselling, making it more important than ever to unite for ‘One Sunrise Together’ this weekend

Join Pieta, Electric Ireland and the thousands of people already signed up for Darkness Into Light this Saturday, May 8th by signing up now at

Katie Mullan says how each nation adapts to their ever-evolving circumstances will play a key role in ultimate success or otherwise this summer with June’s European Championships and the Olympic Games only six weeks later on the horizon.


Speaking ahead of the Green Army’s four-game series against Great Britain, the Irish skipper was “super excited” to get these high-quality games against the reigning Olympic champions into the agenda.


Ireland were originally hoping to be in Tokyo this month, scoping out the Olympic venue and getting some high-humidity training under their belt. Restrictions meant that plan was switched to Malaysia, but that 19-day tour also bit the dust on the eve of departure. It is indicative of the difficulties in the current COVID-19 environment. But Hockey Ireland acted quickly to work with Great Britain – who also withdrew from the trip to Malaysia – to arrange this latest 12-day camp. Although Ireland played GB as recently as March in the SoftCo Series, Mullan is delighted to meet them again so quickly.


“GB play such a fast, exciting version of hockey and that’s what we want to do too,” she said. “We’re excited to play international hockey and hit the pace we need to prepare for the Europeans [in June]. In a perfect world, playing the same team is not how you would want it, but we are grateful to get the games and it is very good preparation to focus on ourselves.”


Indeed, she is grateful Great Britain are available to play with other options currently limited. Many of the big leagues in Europe are closing in on their end of season playoffs while some nations like Australia, New Zealand and China have not been given clearance to travel to date.


“Every nation has their struggles in terms of best preparing getting out of Covid. You can see how much quicker Australia and New Zealand got out of lockdown and were able to train. 


“In one sense, they got a couple of steps ahead. Now, they are not getting games which we are. 


“Every team has their own personal journey and it’s going to be whoever manages those ups and downs best who will be the successful teams this summer, especially so for the European teams who have to go and peak twice with this being a qualifier for the World Cup.”


That is a complication Sean Dancer’s side will have to manage carefully. It is something they struggled with in 2017 when the Hockey World League semi-finals – the key World Cup qualifier – was followed just a month later by the European Championships. Ireland excelled at the former to earn their ticket to London 2018 but were close to burn-out for the second tournament and it almost cost them their place in Europe’s top tier.


“It’s been something we’ve spoken about a lot, the double-peak and what we learned from 2017. The biggest thing is back then we weren’t used to being together as a group throughout the year like we are now. 


“We came into those tournaments for a very short, intense period of time but were not used to being in each other’s company as consistently. 


“The fact we are together now in a semi-professional environment every week for a couple of days, it puts us in a better position and better prepared for the intensity of two international tournaments in one summer. 

“It’s going to be a challenge and one we are very aware of. There’s lots we can do to prepare for it and have lots of expertise in the group to manage it.”


For the series at Bisham Abbey, coach Dancer has made a number of changes to the line-up from the SoftCo Series, one which will also be uncapped. There is the potential for UCC’s Caoimhe Perdue – a graduate of Ursulines in Thurles – to play her first minutes of senior international minutes following her inclusion.


UCD skipper Ellen Curran is also back for her first international camp since January 2020 when she scored Ireland’s most recent goal in a capped match, netting against Germany in Stellenbosch.

Lena Tice and Megan Frazer remain in Ireland as they manage injury concerns while Ayeisha McFerran stays in the Netherlands on club duty with SV Kampong.


The game against GB will not be streamed on this occasion.


Ireland squad for Bisham Abbey (April 22-May 2):  Michelle Carey (UCD), Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute), Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins), Nicci Daly (Loreto), Deirdre Duke (Old Alex), Nikki Evans (Old Alex), Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union), Zara Malseed (Ards), Hannah Matthews (Loreto), Sarah McAuley (Muckross), Shirley McCay (Pegasus), Hannah McLoughlin (UCD), Katie Mullan (Ballymoney), Lizzie Murphy (Loreto), Anna O’Flanagan (Muckross), Grace O’Flanagan (Railway Union), Sarah Torrans (Loreto), Roisin Upton (Catholic Institute), Chloe Watkins (Monkstown), Ellen Curran (UCD), Caoimhe Perdue (UCC)


Remaining Match dates and times:

Tuesday 27 April: Great Britain v Ireland, 10am. Score GB 3 – 1 Ireland (O’Flanagan).

Wednesday 28 April: Great Britain v Ireland, 6pm

Friday 30 April: Great Britain v Ireland, 2pm

Sunday 2 May: Great Britain v Ireland, 1pm

The Irish Women’s squad will travel to Bisham Abbey, London, tomorrow as part of their preparation for Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. A twenty strong squad will travel on the 22nd of April, with four matches against Great Britain scheduled to take place between the 22nd of April and 2nd of May.

All of the games are being played behind closed doors and will not be streamed, both Hockey Ireland and Great Britain Hockey will share the results on social media at the end of each day. The matches will all be uncapped.

The squad travelling is as follows:

Carey Michelle Leinster                 Midfielder             Uncapped
Carroll Naomi Munster               Striker                     111
Colvin Lizzie Ulster                    Midfielder              196
Curran Ellen Leinster                Midfielder               24
Daly Nicola Leinster                Midfielder               189
Duke Deirdre Leinster                Midfielder               141
Evans Nicola Leinster                Striker                      198
Hawkshaw Sarah Leinster                Midfielder                33
Malseed Zara Ulster                    Striker                      Uncapped
Matthews Hannah Leinster                Defender                 147
McAuley Sarah Leinster                Defender                 Uncapped
McCay Shirley Ulster                    Defender                306
McLoughlin Hannah Leinster                Defender                 14
Mullan Katie Ulster                    Midfielder               193
Murphy Elizabeth Leinster                Goalkeeper             13
O’Flanagan Anna Leinster                Striker                      207
O’Flanagan Grace Leinster                Goalkeeper             36
Perdue Caoimhe Munster               Defender                 Uncapped
Torrans Sarah Leinster                Striker                      26
Upton Roisin Munster               Defender                 76
Watkins Chloe Leinster                Midfielder               226


Notable absences from the squad include Ayeisha McFerran who remains on duty with Dutch Hoofdklasse club SV Kampong. Both Megan Frazer and Elena Tice remain at home managing injuries, while Ellen Curran and Caoimhe Purdue are called up to the squad.

Speaking on the trip announcement, Performance Director Adam Grainger said, “We’re very happy to have been able to travel for these matches. Great Britain are obviously a very strong side so this will give the squad more opportunities to test themselves against challenging opposition ahead of an intense summer of international hockey.

It’s been a challenging process with so many moving parts; the changing restrictions and ensuring we are minimising the risk of COVID to our athletes and their families while also providing them with the best opportunity to perform at the Olympics this summer. The team have been excellent in dealing with the challenges the current situation has presented to their programme.”

Match dates and times:

  • Tuesday 27 April: Great Britain v Ireland, 10:00 BST
  • Wednesday 28 April: Great Britain v Ireland, 18:00 BST
  • Friday 30 April: Great Britain v Ireland, 14:00 BST
  • Sunday 2 May: Great Britain v Ireland, 13:00 BST

The recently announced Irish Squad trip to Malaysia has been cancelled as of this morning. Over the past two weeks Hockey Ireland and their key stakeholders have been working tirelessly to provide the opportunity to travel to Malaysia for heat and humidity training and competition. Having constantly monitored the situation throughout this period, due to changing conditions in the past 24 hours, the difficult decision has been taken not to travel.

Speaking on the decision, Head Coach Sean Dancer said, “We informed the squad early this morning, and everyone is disappointed that we will not be able to make this opportunity happen.

“At this point in our build up to Europeans and the Olympics, the health and wellbeing of our staff and players is paramount. Weighing up the potential performance benefit of heat and humidity versus the uncertainties we live with at this time globally, particularly with travel and quarantine periods, has been incredibly difficult.

“I am confident we can control our build up well in Ireland to put the team in the best position to compete this summer.”

The Irish Women’s squad will travel to Malaysia tomorrow as part of their preparation for the conditions they will face in Tokyo this summer. A twenty strong squad will travel on the 9th of April and return on the 28th, basing themselves out of Malaysia National Hockey Stadium, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur while there.

Also travelling will be recent opponents Great Britain, similarly, hoping to use the trip as an opportunity to prepare for conditions expected at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Irish women are scheduled to play Great Britain at least four times throughout the period, while also taking on hosts Malaysia. These matches will all be uncapped.

The squad travelling is as follows:

CAREY, Michelle                                 Leinster                 Midfielder             Uncapped

CARROLL, Naomi                                Munster               Striker                     111

COLVIN, Elizabeth                              Ulster                    Midfielder             196

DALY, Nicola                                        Leinster                Midfielder             189

DUKE, Deirdre                                     Leinster                Midfielder             141

EVANS, Nicola                                     Leinster                Striker                     198

HAWKSHAW, Sarah                           Leinster                Midfielder             33

MALSEED, Zara                                   Ulster                    Striker                   Uncapped

MATTHEWS, Hannah                        Leinster                Defender               147

McAULEY, Sarah                                 Leinster                Defender               Uncapped

McCAY, Shirley                                    Ulster                    Defender                306

McLOUGHLIN, Hannah                     Leinster                Defender               14

MULLAN, Kathryn (C)                       Ulster                    Midfielder             193

MURPHY, Elizabeth                           Leinster                Goalkeeper          13

O’FLANAGAN, Anna                           Leinster                Striker                    207

O’FLANAGAN, Grace                          Leinster                Goalkeeper          36

TICE, Elena                                           Leinster                Defender                109

TORRANS, Sarah                                 Leinster                Striker                     26

UPTON, Roisin                                     Munster               Defender                 76

WATKINS, Chloe                                 Leinster                Midfielder              226

Notable absences from the squad include Ayeisha McFerran who remains on duty with Dutch Hoofdklasse club SV Kampong.

Speaking on the trip announcement, Performance Director Adam Grainger said, “This is a great opportunity for this squad ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. We had hoped all along to be able organise a warm weather training camp or arrange for matches to take place in a climate similar to what the team will experience in Tokyo.

It’s been a challenging process with so many moving parts; the changing restrictions and ensuring we are minimising the risk of COVID to our athletes and their families while also providing them with the best opportunity to perform at the Olympics this summer.

With the work that has gone into the organisation of this trip, and with Great Britain also travelling to Malaysia during this time frame, we’re confident that we’re providing the squad with the best chance to play in those humid conditions as well as athlete safety being paramount.”


Match dates and times:

Remain TBC.

Chloe Watkins says Ireland’s recent victory over reigning Olympic gold medalists Great Britain is both hugely important and unimportant at the same time as the Green Army mount up for a big summer ahead.

She played a starring role in central midfield as Ireland beat GB for the first time ever, landing a 2-1 success in an overall drawn three-game series, scoring the equalising goal in that tie.

But she is wary of getting too far ahead of herself with a European Championships in June – which doubles as a World Cup qualifier – and the Olympics following six weeks later.

“It was a big scalp for us so that was obviously a huge positive,” she said this week in her role as an FBD ambassador, one of Team Ireland’s (the Olympic Federation of Ireland) sponsors.

“But, at the same time, we are aware it was a friendly series and we are still a couple of months out.

“We are not looking to peak yet and there’s a lot of work and preparation to go. It was a good temperature check after a long period of training to say things are going in the right direction. It’s nice to see things gelling in matches which you have been working on in training. All in all, a positive experience for us.”

Indeed, after precious few international fixtures, it was a relief that things were on track. In a normal year, Ireland’s women could expect to play between 30 and 40 capped fixtures; Watkins has in excess of 200 caps.

As such, with just a January series against Spain under their belt in the past year, there was no idea of what to expect.

“I was apprehensive going into the GB series. I didn’t know where we would stand and often a March series is a tough one because you come off the back of a long training period and there is fatigue.

“You are not necessarily peaking for a tournament so sometimes it can go wrong. It was great to get good results, good performances most importantly and feeling like we controlled things in a way we hadn’t done before against them. We can take that confidence into the next few months.”

It was also the first time the Irish team were seen on the big screen since qualifying for Tokyo back in November 2019.

At the time, they were riding high on the crest of a wave with the 2018 World Cup silver medal also fresh in the mind.

The GB series was live-streamed on both RTE and BBC Northern Ireland with RTE2 carrying one of the games on a Sunday evening; helping to get the wheels back onto the bandwagon after a year training away mainly behind closed doors.

“Publicity is not too much at the front of our minds but we had a lot of momentum from the qualifiers coming into the Olympic run-in in 2020.

“Confidence, interest, excitement was high – all that stuff so getting some of that momentum and generating interest and excitement again in the team is always a good thing. Getting confidence up in the squad in good performances will always help.”

One element will be missing in Tokyo, however, this summer with confirmation no overseas fans can attend. It was such a strong feature of the 2018 World Cup when more than half of the 15,000 Lee Valley Stadium in London was bedecked in green.

“It is hard for them,” Watkins says as her family members have to scrap what plans they had in place.

“This was going to be a high point for them as well as us. From a squad’s perspective, we are happy to be able to go out there and compete. Obviously, [our fans] all wanted to be able to go out there but I have no doubt they will be loud and in full-green from head to toe, finding ways to celebrate at home.”

16 March 2021

Ireland 1 (Upton), Great Britain 1 (Petters).

The third and final match of the SoftCo Series took place this afternoon in Queen’s University Belfast, seeing an even performance from both GB and Ireland. Both teams having a large number of close opportunities in the circle throughout the match.

GB’s Owlsey got the game off to a fast start, passing to Rayer in the Irish circle, but Ireland defended well and created an opportunity shortly. O’Flanagan had the first real opportunity for Ireland, with Hinch’s save rebounding just out of Zara Malseed’s reach. Both sides brought plenty of energy to the game, seemingly relevantly evenly matched in the opening quarter. Some nice skill from Michelle Carey brought the ball right up the pitch create chance for O’Flanagan, however Hinch prevented her from putting Ireland on the score board.

There was some strong play seen in the backline from Tice and McCay pushing the ball up the pitch, with McFerran quickly clearing it away some of the GB opportunities that got through the Ireland defence. Strong running by Malseed saw Ireland awarded the first penalty corner of the game but Tice’s deflection was defended by GB. A challenge on the Irish circle saw Upton coming through with strong interception, running it up to Carroll winning a penalty corner by pulling it into a GB foot. Tice took the shot again, this time resulting in another penalty corner being awarded, with the following penalty corner also being kept out.

Owsley’s challenge on the Irish circle provided a penalty corner opportunity for GB, with Pearne-Webb’s shot finding Mullan’s foot and awarding a second penalty corner opportunity. A similar play saw the ball kept out and the first quarter ended 0 – 0.

An intense second quarter saw both teams challenging each other but neither being able to finish off the plays. Megan Frazer gave some strong passes down the line towards the forwards. Matthews managed to pass the ball to the top of the circle, allowing Daly to take it on the reverse, however it was a strong save from Hinch again. GB countered this with a fast-paced play, entering the Irish circle but McFerran slid under the ball and cleared it, while Frazer soared over her unable to slow her pace in her commitment to defend the goal. Ireland used the backline a lot opening up the game, but GB continued to try forcing them out left for most of the play. A McCay pass gave Watkins a long shot up the middle of the pitch towards a quite GB circle, however it was just out of reach of Naomi Carroll before going out of play. McCallin followed up with challenged on McFerran who calmly booted the ball out via the wing. Michelle Carey received the first green card of the game with some fumble tackles with 90 seconds left of the clock. Both teams continued to challenge each other throughout, with good approach play, however, strong defence denied the final touches for both sides. The half-time buzzer went, and the sides remained nil all.

GB got the second half underway with an aerial seeing the first free hit go to Ireland. After a bit of pressure on the Irish defence with GB pressing into the circle, Daly managed to enter the GB circle. Despite finding GB defence, it supplied Watkins with another opportunity on goal, but the ball just slipped past the post.

Frazer continued showing a strong front, reading the game well taking a bit of pressure off the defence as GB managed to take a couple of chances at getting into the circle. Torrans slipped the ball up to the GB circle where GB take back possession. An interception by Watkins sees a free to Ireland taken quickly by Daly who wins a penalty corner for Ireland. The ball is played into Tice tipping off a GB player awarding Ireland another penalty corner. Yet another penalty corner is awarded, with the final one deflected out wide and moves back down the pitch.

GB respond by pushing the ball back down the pitch, giving them control for a spell, with a few attempts at entering the circle but a strong defence saw Tice clearing the ball up towards Mullan in the GB circle, who dives to it but slides under the ball missing it slightly as it goes wide of the goal.

Ireland were awarded another penalty corner, with Upton with the drag flick, which is saved by Hinch bring it into one of her own players awarding Ireland another penalty corner. Upton again, this time Hinch controls it pushing it wide. GB putting the pressure back on McFerran again but McFerran swiping under and clearing the ball. Tice also showing a strong front not allowing GB in again pushing it out the wings. The last 30 sec see Ireland defending their goal with some nice passing between Tice and McCay.

After an intense penultimate quarter, both sides come back to the pitch fighting for a goal. The first penalty corner of the final quarter goes to Ireland. Daly interjecting, to Upton and Watkins at top shooting but the ball is saved again by Hinch. Frazer received a green card, but O’Flanagan finishing off the play by winning a PC. The shot comes in for McCay but is deflected wide.

While Ireland is down to ten players, GB’s Ansley continues to put the pressure on. Upton remains solid in defence, pushing GB away from the goal putting the ball up to Mullan, seeing Daly securing another penalty corner. The ball is fumbled at the top but taken under control, out to Upton, before another penalty corner is secured. The ball is stopped on the line under the body of Hinch after a scramble at the mouth of the goal looking like one of the Carey’s had gotten it across. A penalty stroke is awarded to Ireland and Upton steps up to secure the lead for Ireland, putting her third shot past Hinch in three games.

GB seemed to bring a renewed energy to the final few minutes to gain an equaliser. Robertson received a green card in the last five minutes putting GB down to ten players. Despite being a player down, Townsend presses on the circle, McCay takes back possession for Ireland in the home circle before being intercepted by Petters who steps up on the reverse stick beating McFerran, putting it into the corner giving GB the equalizer.

A yellow card for Watkins saw GB putting immense pressure on Ireland in the last few minutes. GB stretched the pitch rolling the ball around the back attempting one or two shots but remained denied another goal. Upton showing strong, keeping calm and controlling the ball denying GB any entry to the circle. A chance for Costello is shot across the circle and goes out wide. GB forced the ball into the circle in the last few seconds, but Ireland defends well seeing the game finish Ireland 1 – 1 GB.

Speaking after the match, Roisin Upton said “Immediate response is disappointment to the third game, the opportunity was there to win it by a couple. But in general, it’s been a fantastic four days, and we’ll take a lot of confidence into whatever comes next.

We’ve been training hard over the last eight months after we came out of lockdown in September, so it’s been great to have these games to get tested against the best. They’re the reigning Olympic Champions and we’ve got three fantastic games in the bag now that we can reflect on and look back on. There’ll be a lot of take away, it’s been a good four days.”

Ireland:  A McFerran, Z Malseed, R Upton, K Mullan, S McCay, L Tice, N Carroll, C Watkins, S Hawkshaw, A O’Flanagan, S McAuley; M Carey, M Frazer, G O’Flanagan, N Daly, H Matthews, S Torrans, N Carey, D Duke.

Great Britain: S Robertson, I Petter, L Owsley, F Crackles, G Ansley, J Hunter, S Evans, E Rayer, S Townsend, S McCallin, L Unsworth, L Wilkinson, G Balsdon, H Pearne-Webb, A Costello, M Hinch, S Heesh, E Burge.