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Irish women take on Euro indoor second tier challenge in Spain

The Irish women’s indoor compete this weekend at their highest level since 1990 as they contest the EuroHockey Indoor Championship II in Ourense, Spain.

It promises to be a real baptism of fire for the fledgling panel who only returned to the international game in late 2019 after a long absence as they start their campaign on Friday against world number six side Poland before facing Belgium.

Also in the mix are Switzerland (seven in the world), Scotland and Spain who beat Ireland to third tier gold in early 2020.

As such, Ireland are self-professed “underdogs” in this six-team competition but coach Rob Abbott is thrilled about the prospect of facing such illustrious opposition.

“It’s exciting times,” he said on Tuesday evening. “It will be a huge challenge and we are playing some very established indoor nations. We are still developing, only back on the court for a couple of years.

“We start off against Poland, world ranking number six so we will give it a go but we are underdogs.”

In preparation, Ireland did get in a highly competitive three-game series against Scotland just before the turn of the year, winning one, drawing one and losing one of those fixtures.

In total, seven of that side made their international debuts with Emma Buckley, Mikayla Power and Lily Lloyd all keeping their spot of the newcomers from those games in Antrim.

Captain Orla Fox, sisters Orla and Sarah Patton, Amy Benson and Sophie Barnwell all retain their sport while there are four players coming into the fold.

Millie Regan joins Buckley on goalkeepeing duties while Holly Jenkinson, Hannah Kelly and Orla Macken are all coming in to make their indoor debuts.

For Jenkinson, it will be her third different international cap having represented Ireland already in netball and tag rugby.

“Haha, I am trying to get as many international caps while I still can,” she says of the unique record and she says her previous experience will help her out when she hits the board.

“The whole setup of any international tournament – the travel, the training, the circumstances you are under, the competition, the pressure; all that is replicated in high performance sport and how you react is the same throughout. With netball and tag rugby, I can’t say it is the same skillset but it is still high performance which is similar!”

“I can’t say playing indoor for Ireland is something I dreamed about because I didn’t know if it is something that could or would exist until a few years ago.

“But since we have put a squad together and started to enter competitions, it was definitely a goal of mine. It’s different to outdoor and can be tough on the body, very fast paced so I wasn’t sure if I could make it but I have been aiming for it for some time and that’s why I am so excited.”

On the debit side from the Antrim games, Chloe Brown – top scorer in the series against Scotland – will be a big loss as she is unable to travel due to work commitments. Becky Maye, Katie Kimber, Becky McMullen and Laura Graham also miss out this time.

“The Europeans will be a very different challenge,” Abbott added. “Dave [Passmore] and the team in 2020 in Bratislava were exceptional, finishing runners-up in the C Division, bringing a medal home and, more importantly, promotion.

“Going up to the B division, it’s a different kettle of fish. First game, Poland ranked 6th, the Swiss have a world ranking of seven; the Belgians were preparing for the World Cup in February and then you have Scotland who we played the other week.

“It will be a great challenge and we will see if we can learn from every game. As long as the team improves and we come back with more knowledge, we can further improve the game of indoor here.

** All games will be streamed via: https://www.eurohockeytv.org/en-int/page/home-ehf-hockey

Ireland indoor panel for Euro Hockey Indoor Championship II; Ourense, Spain (club/caps)
Emma Buckley (Pembroke, 3)
Millie Regan (Old Georgian’s, 10)
Sarah Patton (Railway Union, 9)
Sophie Barnwell (Muckross, 13)
Holly Jenkinson (Railway Union, 0)
Orla Macken (Pembroke/North Kildare, 0)
Mikayla Power (Old Alex, 3)
Orla Fox (Railway Union, 15)
Orla Patton (Railway Union, 15)
Hannah Kelly (Catholic Institute, 0)
Lily Lloyd (Railway Union, 3)
Amy Benson (Ards, 14)

Euro Hockey Indoor Championship II (Ourense, Spain)
Friday, January 21: Ireland v Poland, 12.30pm; Ireland v Belgium, 5.30pm
Saturday, January 22: Ireland v Switzerland, 10am; Ireland v Scotland, 4.15pm
Sunday, January 23: Spain v Ireland, 1pm

Head Coach: Rob Abbott
Assistant Coach: Ross Willis
Manager: Gareth Myburgh
Physio: Amy Phelan
Video technician and analyst: Aaron Passmore

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Leinster land U-20 intepro crown as U-18 and 16 competitions hit high notes

Leinster took the Under-21 interprovincial title with a 5-2 victory over Connacht at Grange Road following a cracking contest with all the goals coming in a wild second half.

It was a scarcely predictable final scoreline after a scoreless first half in which the western province enjoyed plenty of the game.

But Leinster struck first in the 44th minute and followed up with two more in a blistering four minute spell to transform the look of the game. Lauren Johnston set them on their way, swooping to push in the first on her forehand to pop home and she added the second with a backhand flip after Orna Bools’ right-wing burst.

Zoe Watterson rebounded for the third in the 49th minute as Leinster suddenly were out of sight. Bools added a fourth with an audacious upright backhand shot but Connacht had plenty of fire and they got on the board with Fiona Kelly’s powerful hit.

Blues’ captain Bools swept in a corner switch for 5-1 before Jenny Buttimer completed the scoring with eight minutes to go.

In the Under-18 competition, Ulster dropped their first point of the competition thus far but the shoot-out bonus against Leinster is enough to put them into the final of the competition where they will meet Munster.

Leinster carried the lead into the half-time break with Alex Gallagher’s penalty corner goal putting them 1-0 up but Ulster replied in with Gabriella Scott getting the vital equaliser.

They went on to win the shoot-out 3-1 and now move up to eight points in the group alongside Munster who they meet in their last group game on February 6.

For Leinster, it was their first point of the series; they will meet Leinster South in their last group game, also on February 6.

Leinster South got their first win of the competition with a 1-0 win over Connacht at Wilson’s Hospital, Eva Sterritt striking from a corner.

At Under-16 level, who reaches the final is very much up for grabs with four teams still in the mix. Leinster are best placed after they picked up a shoot-out bonus against Ulster to continue their unbeaten run to date.

Ulster and Leinster both held the lead in a lively first half with Isobel Field putting Leinster 1-0 up before Annie Cunningham and Grace Cowden turned things around, 2-1 to the northern province. Field’s second of the day, though, came in the 40th minute saw Leinster earn a draw and they followed on win the shoot-out 2-1.

Leinster lead the way on eight on eight points with three sides on five points going into the final round of fixtures on February 11.

Ulster are one of them while Leinster South remain unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw against Connacht. Emily Quinn put the western province into the lead at half-time; Emer Sweetnam equalised in the 43rd minute and her side got the bonus 4-3 in the shoot-out.


Interprovincial series

Under-16: Leinster South 1 (E Sweetnam) Connacht 1 (E Quinn), Leinster South won shoot-out 4-3; Ulster 2 (A Cunningham, G Cowden) Leinster 2 (I Field 2), Leinster won shoot-out 2-1

Under-18: Leinster South 1 (E Sterritt) Connacht 0; Ulster 1 (G Scott) Leinster 1 (A Gallagher), Ulster won shoot-out 3-1

Under-21 final: Leinster 5 (L Johnston 2, O Bools 2, Z Watterson) Connacht 2 (F Kelly, J Buttimer)

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Insta hit Railway for six in women’s EYHL

Women’s EY Hockey League

Catholic Institute 6 (H Kelly 2, N Carroll, R Upton, C Moloney, L Hickey) Railway Union 1 (L Lloyd)

Catholic Institute hit Railway Union for six as they produced a remarkably clinical performance to jump up to second place in the women’s EY Hockey League.

It was a performance of attacking precision as they built a 3-0 lead in the first three quarters despite Railway having plenty of the game before the Limerick side cut loose in the closing quarter.

The visitors were without Orla Fox while Grace O’Flanagan for her first game of the season with Riona Norton out injured. They had a couple of early corners – they ended up with eight in total to Insta’s two – but Pam Smithwick and her defensive team were well organised.

And the hosts took the lead from their first major attack with Laura Foley drawing two good saves from O’Flanagan only for Naomi Carroll to clean up and fire home.

In the second quarter, Aebhfhinn Bourke laid on the cross for Hannah Kelly to guide home after a couple of waves of attacks. Railway felt they were still very much in it as Kate Lloyd’s cross somehow did not find the touch as it rolled across goal.

Almost instantly, Insta countered with Róisín Upton – imperious stepping out from midfield – drove to the baseline, won a corner and dragged it home herself. Again, Railway were frustrated as Sarah Hawkshaw’s snapshot hit the base of the post as the Dubliners peppered the Insta circle but found no joy.

They scored their second corner despite a mistral, Upton gathering to find space to put the ball into the dangerzone and Ciara Moloney got the touch into the backboard.

Christine O’Shea’s gutsy tackle from another Railway corner set the base for number five. Upton duly smacked the ball 70-metres to Carroll who was in behind the last defender and she selflessly squared to Kelly for her second of the day. 

Sarah Patton denied Jenny Clein off the line before number six came, Carroll again with some sublime skills before she unselfishly squared to Aoife Hickey. Lily Lloyd flicked into the top corner in the last minute of the game but it was scant consolation.

It is the sole match to be played in January with the next round of matches being played on February 11.


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Insta and Railway vye for second as interpros reach business end

A number of high quality fixtures are on the agenda this weekend with the women’s EY Hockey League tie between Catholic Institute and Railway Union takes place on Saturday while Sunday sees five female interprovincial fixtures.

Indeed, in the interpro series, the first final of the season will take place at Grange Road with Leinster facing Connacht at 3pm. The two sides played out a close-run meeting in October with the blues prevailing 2-0 while both sides subsequently picked up 1-0 wins over Munster.

At Under-18 level, Ulster can potentially confirm they will join Munster in that competition’s final if the northern province can get by the challenge of Leinster at Havelock Park.

Leinster South will hope to keep their outside chances of nicking a final berth alive when they meet in Mullingar where they meet Connacht who are aiming for their second win of the campaign.

In the Under-16s, it is very much all to play for with four provinces currently covered by three points with two rounds of matches to be played. The match-ups are the same and should Leinster win against Ulster, they will be assured of a final spot but Ulster, Munster and Leinster South are all very much in the hunt.

In the EYHL, Catholic Institute and Railway Union can both potentially move into second place in the women’s table on Saturday at Rosbrien.

It is a position Insta’s Róisín Upton sometimes has to pinch herself to confirm is real as the Limerick club has leaped forward in recent years.

“As the weeks go on, you just want to shake some of the girls!” she said in a recent media outing in her role as a GOAL ambassador.

“I hope some of them realise just how good they are and how good they can be. That’s one of the most exciting things; how keen the girls are to learn and how hungry they are for success.

“Success for us is being in the EYHL Division One, it’s finishing higher than our seventh place from a few years ago. It’s small steps and there is a great buzz.
“Our goal is just to finish higher than we did two years ago. It would be great to get into the playoffs and we also have our first ever Irish Senior Cup quarter-final to look forward to up in Banbridge.”

For Railway, they are in sixth place on 15 points but just three points off second placed Pegasus and Old Alex, tied on 18. That second spot is all-important as it would assure progression straight through to the EY Champions Trophy semi-finals with third to sixth destined to the quarter-finals.

Saturday 15th January 2022
EYHL Division 1:
Catholic Institute v Railway Union, Rosbrien, 2pm

Sunday 16th January 2022
Interprovincial series
Leinster South v Connacht, Mullingar, 1pm; Ulster v Leinster, Havelock Park, 12pm
Under-18: Leinster South v Connacht, Mullingar, 3pm; Ulster v Leinster, Havelock Park, 2.30pm
Under-21 final: Leinster v Connacht, Grange Road, 3pm

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Hockey Ireland implements new FIH Rules for 2022 with immediate effect

Hockey Ireland and the Irish Hockey Umpires Association will implement the new FIH Rules of Hockey for January 2022 with immediate effect for all competitions.

The updated rulebook can be found here: https://www.irishhua.com/handbook/handbook119.pdf?20220110120903

The two main changes relate to Rule 4.2 (removal of PC protective equipment) and Rule 9.10 (aerial balls). The other updates to the rules are cosmetic.


Rule 4.2 was changed to allow for defending players using Penalty Corner (PC) protective equipment to continue to play the ball outside the circle following completion of a penalty corner (i.e. when the ball travels more than 5m outside the circle).

Players should continue to remove facemasks as soon as possible after a PC but they can continue to wear the facemask whilst playing within the defending 23m area. The aim is to remove the award of PCs for players playing the ball with their mask on. 

The additional text states: “Players should remove their penalty corner equipment as soon as they are able to do so after the penalty corner is completed. If no suitable opportunity to remove equipment arises, they can continue to wear it whilst they are within the 23m area without penalty. All players must remove all protective equipment before they leave the 23m area or when instructed to by the umpire.”


Rule 9.10, the wording around aerial balls has seen the following phrase added for clarification:

“Players must not approach within 5 metres of an opponent receiving a falling, raised ball until it has been received, controlled and is on the ground. The ball may be intercepted within 5 metres but outside of playing distance provided it is done safely.”  

It was changed to allow for the playing of what is commonly designated as Aerial Balls. The previous text did not cover for the possibility for players to safely intercept a falling ball, which is now seen as both legitimate and positive to the development of the game. Aerial Balls will continue to be closely monitored by all stakeholders so that player safety can be maintained.

The way it is umpired in top-flight competitions will not largely change from the interpretations that have been employed in the last year. Officials do not want to have engagement or a contest in the air, so when the ball is 20m away, if there is a clear receiver they have priority. Safety remains the priority for the umpire’s judgement.

But if someone steps in front from outside of playing distance from the clear receiver and intercepts the ball in what is deemed by the umpire to be a safe manner, then this will be allowed.

For an example of when this specifically occurs, check out the following video:

The FIH umpires briefing can be found here: http://www.fih.ch/inside-fih/our-official-documents/fih-umpires-and-umpire-managers/umpire-managers/. It offers additional guidance and information on the interpretations of key rules.

For more information on umpiring in Ireland, please go to: https://irishumpires.com/
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SoftCo expand sponsorship to support Irish men’s team on equal basis

SoftCo and Hockey Ireland have agreed a ground-breaking deal with the former becoming the main sponsor of both the Irish men’s and women’s national teams on an equal basis.

For SoftCo – leaders in financial automation software – it is a significant expansion of their long-standing support for hockey.

They will become the main sponsor to the men’s senior and development programs ahead of a busy 2022 and their ultimate pursuit of Olympic qualification for Paris 2024 for the Green Machine.

It means both the Irish men and women’s teams will enjoy the same level of support, aligning perfectly with hockey’s pursuit of gender-equality of opportunity and ambition, becoming one of the first sports in Ireland to enjoy such parity from a sponsor.

“We are delighted to extend our successful partnership with Irish Hockey. It is an exciting time to team up with the Men’s Senior and Development Squads with so much talent and ambition in the squad,” commented, Susan Spence, Co-Founder, SoftCo.

“We have had fantastic fun over the last four years with the Women’s Team and hopefully we can replicate that success. We are especially grateful to the wider hockey community for their wonderful support and will use the sponsorship of both the Men’s and Women’s international teams to help hockey at grassroots level.”

Irish men’s Head Coach Mark Tumilty said of the sponsorship: “I am thrilled to see SoftCo coming on board at a vital phase in our development. We have seen the huge impact their support and engagement has had on the women’s team and we are looking forward on building that relationship.

“We have a young side that has grown quickly in 2021 after 18 months out of action with Covid and this is the perfect boost to our program to add serious momentum.”

Shane O’Donoghue, foreground, with Irish senior men’s team mates Sean Murray and Jamie Carr. Picture: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

In 2022, the “Green Machine” will compete in August’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers in Calais, France as well as making their debut in the FIH Nations Cup. The events are key stepping-stones in the qualifying process for the Olympics.

SoftCo have supported the women’s team for the past four years and the women’s development program since August 2021 as well as supporting a number of grassroots initiatives.

In that time, the company has become synonymous with the team and its success, including an historic 2018 World Cup silver medal and an Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games. The Green Army has qualified once again for this summer’s World Cup which will be played in July 2022.

Speaking about the latest expansion of support for the Irish international teams, Hockey Ireland CEO Jerome Pels said: “SoftCo continue to be incredible partners for Hockey Ireland, helping to reach new heights on the world stage.

“This unique dual-sponsorship ties in perfectly with hockey’s ‘equally amazing’ charter, promoting the sport on a gender-equal basis.”

About SoftCo
For over 30 years, SoftCo has delivered finance automation software that streamline processes, reduce costs, and ensure full financial control, compliance, and visibility. SoftCo is a global organization with offices in the USA, Ireland, the UK, and the Nordics. SoftCo is SOC2, ISO 27001 and SAHKE2 certified in addition to being a Microsoft Gold Partner and AWS Advanced Technology Partner. Over two million business users worldwide across all industry sectors use SoftCo solutions including SunnyD, the Finnish Government, Primark, Patagonia and PwC. For more information, please visit www.softco.com

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Scotland take laurels after spectacular final series in Antrim

Men’s Indoor International Series – game three
Ireland 7 (R Canning 4, O Kidd, J Jackson, J Duncan) Scotland 8 (J Golden 5, C Golden 2, P Christie)

Scotland snatched two goals in the final minute to land a series clean sweep against the Irish men at the Antrim Forum, grabbing the win despite trailing for 33 minutes of the contest.

Ireland looked in good shape for much of the contest as Jeremy Duncan’s drive and finish put the hosts one up in the first four minutes and Ross Canning first of four penalty corner goals doubled up.

Golden brothers Cameron and Jamie have been stand-out performers this week and they levelled matters by the 15th minute only for Canning to reply in kind with his second, ekeing out a 3-2 half-time lead.

Canning added another and Oliver Kidd nicked in to make it 5-2 but it proved a slender lead as Scotland regrouped with the Golden boys getting one each to cut the gap.

Indeed, Stephen O’Keeffe was enjoying a remarkable game between the posts for Ireland, sweeping one off the line having jack-knifed his body to clear the danger.

John Jackson’s breakaway goal again kept Ireland just in front as Patrick Christie got another back for Scotland; 6-5 at the three quarter mark.

Canning’s fourth was slightly delayed as he pinged the crossbar before finding the top corner from a set piece for a 7-5 lead. But Scotland finished the strongest with Jamie Golden scoring three in the last five minutes to turn things around in spectacular fashion.

He closed the gap from a corner and when Ireland went down to five players, he weighed in with two more in the closing minute for a personal tally of five.

It meant a third successive win for the Scots in this comeback series, the first in Ireland indoors since 1987.

Ireland: S O’Keeffe, J Jackson, R Canning, C Robson, N Glassey, J Duncan
Subs: R Patterson, J Haycock, D Howard, O Kidd, R Couse, M Crooks

Scotland: G McKenzie, M Ross, A McAllister, A Lochrin, C Golden, J Golden
Subs: P Christie, J Stephen, S Stewart, G Amour, A Wilson, M Taylor

Women’s Indoor International Series – game three
Ireland 5 (A Benson 3, O Fox, C Brown) Scotland 5 (E Dark 2, S Hinds, C Watson, R Blaikie), Scotland win shoot-out 3-1

Scotland took the final laurels in suitably dramatic style as they edged out Ireland in a shoot-out following a rollercoaster 5-5 draw in the best of three decider at the Antrim Forum.

It was end to end from minute one, Amy Benson’s looping lob opening the scoring only for Ruth Blaikie to equalise and Chloe Brown to retake the lead within seconds of each other. That gave Ireland a 2-1 lead which Benson augmented but Sophie Hinds’ neat finish had it close at 3-2 at half-time.

Benson completed her hat trick early in the second half but Scotland proceeded to grind away at that lead with two Emily Dark corners making the game level and they looked to have done enough to win it when Charlotte Watson made it 5-4.

Irish captain Orla Fox, though, equalised in the closing minute for 5-5, sending the series down to a shoot-out to decide the winners. There, Scotland were faultless in attack and Carmin Dow made the crucial save.

“I don’t know what we were expecting but the first indoor games in 34 years, we will look back on this in a few weeks and it will be really positive. It was annoying to lose on shoot-outs but we progressed really well throughout the series.” Buckley reflected on a dramatic week, citing the second game as one to take a lot from.

“With indoor, you can score in a matter of seconds. It just worked out we scored two goals straight after that save. The girls kept pushing and to get eight goals against a side ranked eight places above us is fantastic.

“The Euros are coming up pretty quickly and we have Scotland in our opening game! It’s something to really look forward to.”

Ireland: E Buckley, S Patton, S Barnwell, C Brown, A Benson, L Graham
Subs: O Fox, O Patton, R McMullen L Lloyd, M Power, B Maye

Scotland: L Camlin, M Steiger, R Blaikie, M Justice, E Wilson, E Dark
Subs: C Watson, C Hay, S Hinds, F Semple, K Stott, C Dow

Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 3 (M Crooks, R Patterson, R Canning) Scotland 7 (J Golden 3, C Golden 2, P Christie 2); Ireland 7 (R Canning 4, O Kidd, J Jackson, J Duncan) Scotland 8 (J Golden 5, C Golden 2, P Christie)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland 4 (O Kidd 3, R Canning) Scotland 5 (C Golden 2, G Amour 2, J Golden);

Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 2 (S Patton, M Power) Scotland 3 (E Dark 2, M Justice)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland 8 (C Brown 5, L Lloyd 3) Scotland 3 (M Steiger, E Dark, M Justice); Ireland 5 (A Benson 3, O Fox, C Brown) Scotland 5 (E Dark 2, S Hinds, C Watson, R Blaikie), Scotland win shoot-out 3-1

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Brown and Lloyd fire up women’s win; Irish men denied in nine-goal thriller

Women’s Indoor International Series – game two
Ireland 8 (C Brown 5, L Lloyd 3) Scotland 3 (M Steiger, E Dark, M Justice)

Chloe Brown and Lily Lloyd inspired Ireland to a blistering 8-3 win over Scotland to make it all level going into the third and final meeting of the sides at the Antrim Forum.

It came courtesy of a ferocious final quarter which they nailed four goals having earlier trailed 3-2 but also owed a huge amount to Emma Buckley’s diving penalty stroke save when the game was still in the balance.

Millie Steiger popped in a rebound off the post in the first minute to give Scotland a great start but Brown swapped the lead around by the end of Q1 with a pair of corners.

Emily Dark’s audacious dummy and corner got Scotland back on terms by half-time and they started the second half well, going in front when Margery Justice swooped on a loose ball.

Lily Lloyd equalised with a smart finish from a corner rebound and Brown’s third had Ireland with a slight edge going into the final quarter, 4-3, with Sophie Hinds denied by the post.

But the game blew open in a wild fourth quarter in which Dark pinged the crossbar and Lucy Camlin denied Lloyd an outrageous goal. Lloyd, though, did score her second from play for 5-3 before Buckley had to dive low to keep out Justice’s stroke.

It was a turning point as Brown and Lloyd both scored within 30 seconds of that stroke save, a potential 5-4 scoreline now reading 7-3. Brown closed out the scoring in the 34th minute, completing a run of four goals in two minutes of game time with that stroke in between.

Ireland: E Buckley, S Patton, S Barnwell, O Fox, O Patton, A Benson
Subs: K Kimber, C Brown, L Lloyd, M Power, L Graham, B Maye

Scotland: J Buchanan, M Steiger, C Watson, M Justice, K Stott, E Dark
Subs: R Blaikie, C Hay, E Wilson, S Hinds, F Semple, L Camlin

Men’s Indoor International Series – game two
Ireland 4 (O Kidd 3, R Canning) Scotland 5 (C Golden 2, G Amour 2, J Golden)

Scotland made it two wins from two at the Antrim Forum as they held off a concerted fight from Ireland with Ollie Kidd firing a hat trick.

The Scots burst into an opening 2-0 lead with Cameron Golden and Gordon Amour whipping home quickfire strikes in the first five minutes to get off to a flying start.

Ireland hit back with Kidd flicking their first corner into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 at the quarter-time break. Ross Canning levelled early in Q2 from another corner from the centre and that is how it remained up to half-time.

But another double blow from Golden and Amour in the third quarter put Scotland clear once more 4-2 going into the final phase. Kidd struck once more from a corner to set up a rousing finish but Jamie Golden scored the goal of the game from the left boards for what proved the crucial goal.

Ireland withdrew their impressive goalkeeper Jakim Bernsden and used the extra man to allow Kidd to complete his hat trick from play. As Ireland pushed, Canning hit the post from a corner as did Jamie Golden with another baseline effort but the Scots held on for a 5-4 victory.

Ireland: J Bernsden, J Jackson, J Haycock, O Kidd, J Lynch, J Duncan
Subs: N Glassey, R Canning, R Patterson, M Crooks, R Couse, C Robson

Scotland: M Taylor, M Ross, A McAllister, C Golden, G Amour, J Golden
Subs: P Christie, J Stephen, S Stewart, A Lochrin, A Wilson

Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 3 (M Crooks, R Patterson, R Canning) Scotland 7 (J Golden 3, C Golden 2, P Christie 2)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland 4 (O Kidd 3, R Canning) Scotland 5 (C Golden 2, G Amour 2, J Golden); Ireland v Scotland, 2pm

Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 2 (S Patton, M Power) Scotland 3 (E Dark 2, M Justice)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland 8 (C Brown 5, L Lloyd 3) Scotland 3 (M Steiger, E Dark, M Justice); Ireland v Scotland, 3.30pm

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Dark turns out the lights on Ireland in cracking women’s opening tie

Women’s Indoor International Series – game one
Ireland 2 (S Patton, M Power) Scotland 3 (E Dark 2, M Justice)

Emily Dark’s double saw Ireland succumb to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Scotland at the Antrim Foym in the first of their three game international indoor series.

Ireland were in control at half-time, leading 2-0 after Sarah Patton and Mikayla Power goals but Dark’s pair either side of a Margery Justice finish saw the Scots win out.

Patton got the hosts off to a dream start when she burst down the right wing and flicked in by Carmin Dow ticking past the first minute.

From there, Scotland enjoyed more of the ball as Ireland played in a low dice and were thankful to some excellent goalkeeping from Emma Buckley, racing off her line well to shut down chances.

The one time she was beaten, Chloe Brown was wheeling across the goal line to clean up the pieces and she took a Scottish shot off the line.

On the ball, Lily Lloyd was a key figure with her dancing skills and Ireland went 2-0 up when 16-year-old tyro Mikayla Power reacted fastest to a loose ball and flicked in from mid-circle.

Patton seemed destined to make it 3-0 only for sub goalkeeper Jessica Buchanan to produce a remarkable diving save early in the third quarter. Emily Dark’s pin-point penalty corner, though, cut the gap in the 27th minute to put the contest back in the mix.

Both sides hit the post soon after before Justice levelled the contest in the 36th minute and Dark popped up with the winner in the closing seconds with an emphatic corner flick into the roof of the net.

Captain Orla Fox reflected on the tie, saying: “We have a lot of new caps today which has shown the growth of the game and it is so nice to play a home game but it is disappointing, losing it in the last quarter. These games are so useful for us ahead of the Europeans in January and we have a good chance to suss out what our opposition will be like.”

Ireland: E Buckley, S Patton, L Lloyd, O Patton, M Power, L Graham
Subs: C Brown, O Fox, R McMullen, A Benson, K Kimber, B Maye

Scotland: C Dow, R Blaikie, E Wilson, F Semple, M Justice, E Dark
Subs: M Steiger, C Watson, C Hay, S Hinds, K Stott, J Buchanan

Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 3 (M Crooks, R Patterson, R Canning) Scotland 7 (J Golden 3, C Golden 2, P Christie 2)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland v Scotland, 10am; Ireland v Scotland, 2pm

Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 2 (S Patton, M Power) Scotland 3 (E Dark 2, M Justice)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland v Scotland, 11.30am; Ireland v Scotland, 3.30pm