Irish Women Runners-up to Korea in FIH Final in Banbridge, but Olympic qualifier in Autumn Secured. Ireland 1 – 3 Korea.
Ireland 1 (N Daly) Korea 3 (H Kim, E Cheon, J Kang)
A tight opening half had the two teams 0-0 at half time despite both sides having a few chances to score. A brilliant pass by Roisin Upton in the first quarter gave Chloe Watkins a shot at the Korean goal, but Korean goalkeeper Soo Ji Jang managed to get her foot to the ball preventing Ireland getting on the scoreboard. Yuri Lee from Korea also found a chance for herself at the opposite end of the pitch, although McFerran was on hand to keep the match nil all. The Green Army seemed to progress as the quarter advanced but the Korean defence remained strong throughout.
The second quarter saw a lovely chance for O’Flanagan, provided by a pass from Deirdre Duke, however Korea’s Jang saved it well. A Penalty Corner for Korea and Hyoju An managed to shoot for the goal but McFerran saved and sent it out wide. Brown provided an excellent pass to Upton who’s drag flick saw the ball in the back of the goal, however an obstruction caused the goal to be disallowed.
Shirley McCay and Zoe Wilson provided noticeable interceptions in the lead up to half time. While McFerran was more active throughout this match than any other over the tournament in Banbridge and her skills were put to good use.
Ireland really applied the pressure in the opening minutes of the third quarter but a robust defence by Korea kept them at bay. As the quarter progressed Korea seemed to up the tempo and Hannah Matthews and Roisin Upton became instrumental in Ireland’s play.
The final quarter provided goals from Hyunji Kim and Eunbi Cheon before Nicola Daly managed to get one over the line in a third attempt in an Ireland Penalty Corner. Although Ireland’s decision to pull the goalkeeper to increase their outfield numbers proved un-advantageous as Korea’s Kang managed to put the ball in an empty net to seal the win.
Despite the result the Irish Women’s Olympic qualification ambitions remain unscathed with the squad safely through to a direct qualifier in the Autumn.
Speaking on the match, Interim Head Coach Gareth Grundie said, “Overall we played well. I felt like we were the better side for the first three quarters. Korea started very well and were very strong in the final quarter. It wasn’t to be today.”
In terms of what’s to come and how he’s found his time as Head Coach, Gareth said “I’ve really enjoyed the last few months. We’ve made lots of progress and the girls have been great, as have the staff, so we’re in a good position moving forwards.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do in the coming months and working with Sean [Dancer]. We’ve Europeans and an Olympic qualifier to look forward to so the focus will now move to those.”
The FIH Series Finals individual player awards were awarded as follows:
- Hero Top Scorer – Anna O’Flanagan (6 Goals), IRL, #26
- Best Player – Anna O’Flanagan, IRL, #26
- Best Junior Player – Yohanna Lhopital, FRA, #8
- Best Goalkeeper – Mathilde Petriaux, FRA, #31.
Ireland: A McFerran, R Upton, K Mullan, S McCay, B Barr, C Watkins, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson
Subs: C Brown, L Tice, G Pinder, S Hawkshaw, D Duke, A Meeke, E Buckley.
Korea: S J Jang, Y Lee, H An, E Cheon, J Kang, E Cho, Y Lee, H Jang, H Cho, H Shin, S Lee
Subs: J Seo, S J Choi, S Kim, E Yu, H Kim, S Kang, Y Choi.