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