Women’s Pool C: Ireland 3 (Evans, Hawkshaw, Mullan) Russia 2 (Sadovaia, Leonova)
An early morning start for the Irish Women’s final match of the Euro Hockey Tournament in Antwerp saw them achieve a 3 – 2 victory over Russia to finish 5th place overall in the tournament.
It was a quiet first quarter from both sides. The first chance of the game came from Russia’s Eroshina, although McFerran,saved comfortably, sending it back out in to play. There was little goal action from either side, Ireland managed to get into the Russian circle a number of times but failed to convert to get on the scoreboard.
Sadovaia had the opening goal of the game, converting a penalty corner for Russia to give them a lead ahead of half time. Ireland had a number of opportunities in the second quarter but Russian keeper Aleksandrina frustrated attempts by Duke and Mullan, while Daly and Mullan both sent shots wide of the mark on separate occasions.
Things heated up in the second half when a slap from Wilson sent the ball up the pitch with Nikki Evans on hand to receive it and take a shot to give Ireland and equaliser. A penalty corner to Ireland saw McCay’s shot deflected over the goal, while Hawkshaw was stopped by Russian defence shortly afterwards when Pinder found her well in the circle. McFerran was on form ahead of the third quarter whistle as Russia advanced in the Irish circle. She came out to meet the threat, sliding along the pitch to hit the ball out of harms way.
Evans supplied Hawkshaw with an opportunity in the final quarter and she managed to get around Aleksandrina to give Ireland a 2-1 lead. Evans was there again moments later narrowly missing out on extending Ireland’s lead.
A penalty corner for Russia saw McFerran save, but Leonova secured the rebound and brought the sides level again. Ireland continued to apply pressure with Anna O’Flanagan denied by Aleksandrina before hitting the post with a second chance shortly afterwards. A yellow card to Russia’s Sorokina in the final five minutes saw them down to 10 players to finish the game. Hawkshaw and Evans got the ball in to O’Flanagan again with 2 minutes left on the clock, Aleksandrina came out to save and Mullan managed to get it around her as she defended the goal giving Ireland a 3-2 lead to the end.
Speaking after the match, Head Coach Sean Dancer said, “We always knew it was going to be a tough game and Russia are a good team; they certainly have some good players.
“Last game of the tournament is always nice and tough. In the end, there I things we can do better, especially in the attacking circle and today we only forced one penalty corner so we probably weren’t as smart as we’ve been in the last few games, but real credit to the girls they kept fighting and were able to get the win 3 – 2.”
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
Russia: S Salamatina, K Shulilina, K Koroleva, S Eroshina, A Kolpakova, M Bordolimova, M Drepenkinda, V Aleksandrina, B Sadovaia, A Leonova, E Sorokina
Subs: A Iashina, V Chepurnova, A Khalimova, I Cheplygina, D Yushkova, K Sanina, V Makeeva