Ire v Belarus, Women’s Euro Hockey Champs Match Report
Women’s Pool B: Ireland 11 (R Upton 4, A O’Flanagan 2, N Evans 2, B Barr, D Duke, Z Wilson) Belarus 0.
The Green Army put in a strong performance this afternoon in Antwerp to give them a very comfortable win over Belarus in their second pool match of the Euro Hockey Championships. Asserting themselves from the whistle, the Irish Women secured a Penalty Corner in the opening minute. Despite it ultimately being kept out of the goal by Belarus’s Navitskaya, it set the tone for the match with the Irish securing a total of 18 penalty corners throughout the match, compared to Belarus’s 3.
“It was a good tough game”, according to Head Coach Sean Dancer, “We started quite well in the first quarter, obviously really pleasing to take an early lead.
“I felt we became a little complacent in the second quarter and we let Belarus back in to the game – not from a score point of view, but from a playing point of view. But a really pleasing second half, we stepped it up and played some good hockey.”
Ireland dominated the game with close to 54% of the total possession according to the TMS stats, building it to over 60% in the final quarter of the game.
Roisin Upton put Ireland on the scoreboard in the 4th minute when a penalty corner insertion from Hannah Matthews was deflected from Lizzie Colvin. While Anna O’Flanagan followed with the second goal shortly after. Similarly, an insertion from a penalty corner from Matthews to Colvin provided Chlow Watkins with an opportunity but the ball was saved and O’Flanagan’s goal resulted from a scuffle for the ball on the rebound.
The second quarter saw a few chances for Ireland failing to convert to a goal with Belarus challenging more. Chloe Watkins and Katie Mullan worked well to keep Belarus out of the Irish circle at one point, while Roisin Upton was on hand to counter a shot into the Irish circle by Halinouskaya and send it back up the pitch. The half time score remaining Ireland 2 – 0 Belarus.
A flurry of goals marked the third quarter, with Ireland extending their lead to 8 – 0. Roisin Upton secured herself a hat trick by the end of the quarter, while Nikki Evans added two to the overall tally with her second coming from a saved penalty corner rebound.
Lizzie Colvin provided a lovely pass to Anna O’Flanagan in the final quarter. O’Flanagan was positioned perfectly to push the ball into the back of the goal while Belarus’s Liavonava stood to the side with her focus on Colvin. Deirdre Duke and Roisin Upton brought the game to a close with a goal each from penalty corners.
The final score Ireland 11 – 0 Belarus. A positive day for the Irish Women in Antwerp. They face Germany on Wednesday at 11:15 Irish time in their final pool match. Meanwhile, the Irish Men will take on Germany tomorrow at 14:45 in their final pool match.
Ireland: A McFerran, K Mullan, S McCay, E Tice, C Watkins, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, S Hawkshaw, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson.
Subs: R Upton, N Evans, G Pinder, B Barr, E Murphy, D Duke, A Meeke
Belarus: H Zhylevich, K Mitskevich, U Kasabutskaya, M Halinouskaya, S Bahushevich, N Silitskaya, N Syrayezhka, M Nikitsina, K Syddykava, M Navitskaya
Subs: T Liavonava, N Shtsin, D Belavusava, X Efimencova, Y Kurhanskaya, V Skryba, V Sidarava