Junior Green Army pick up two wins from three over Wales
** Picture courtesy of Front Row Union
The Junior Green Army defied the odds to produce another strong series of performances over the weekend against Wales in three closely-fought contests at Jordanstown.
In the lead-up to the series, nine players and three members of staff were deemed close contacts following their return flight from their Five Nations tournament in Spain to a positive case from outside the group.
This meant a large turnover to the initially announced panel and support staff but a cohort of 18 players was available for the series and they showed up well.
Game one on Friday was a cagey affair between two well matched sides with defences largely on top. Ireland came on strong in the closing quarter and duly got the winning goal with seven minutes remaining when Orla Macken struck home the only goal with a powerful penalty corner hit.
Day two went the way of the Welsh visitors on a 1-0 scoreline with the key goal arriving via a smart breakaway move, flicked home from a tight angle. It was a tight and physical contest with precious little between the sides.
The pendulum swung back the Irish way in game three with Ireland getting the 1-0 result on Sunday. Nadia Benallal capped her return from injury with a beautiful reverse-stick touch from a penalty corner for the only goal.
Wales had started this one the stronger but Ireland worked their way back into the contest and dominated the closing phases to see out the win.
The squad will meet the Wales Under-23 side in three fixtures this week to continue their busy summer of action.
Under-23 series (all at Jordanstown)
Wednesday, July 21: Ireland v Wales, 7pm
Thursday, July 22: Ireland v Wales, 4pm
Friday, July 23: Ireland v Wales, 12.30pm