Sophia Cole’s late equaliser saw Ireland’s development squad land an impressive series win over their Great Britain counterparts at Jordanstown, ending the four-game run with two wins, a draw and one loss on the ledger.
The UCD midfielder struck with two minutes left on the clock with a peach of a backhand shot from a penalty corner to earn a 2-2 draw in the last game of the series.
Earlier in the tie, Limerick native Laura Foley cracked home to make it 1-1 from another set play before GB edged back in front in the third quarter.
The draw backed up a pair of 1-0 wins for Ireland, the first coming last Tuesday with Niamh Carey stealing in at the back post for the only goal and then, a day later, captain Foley scoring again following a brilliant counter-attack move instigated by Jessica McMaster.
Game three belonged to the visitors with Britain running up a 3-0 win but game four was much more even and the Junior Green Army got a deserved draw to shade the series.
Overall, coach Dave Passmore was able to deploy 27 players over the course of the week for the squad which plays a key role in developing players for the senior setup.
Indeed, it has been a fertile production line of late with Olympic call-ups Sarah McAuley, Sarah Hawkshaw, Sarah Torrans, Lizzie Murphy and Michelle Carey all featuring in recent times.
From this, he has since named a reduced panel of 20 to travel to Club Egara in Spain for a Five Nations between equivalent teams from the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Germany. The tournament rules stipulate teams can field up to eight sides from an Under-23 category with the remainder having to be Under-21.
“There is a nice mix of experienced players with senior caps and younger players such as Charlotte Beggs who impressed in our recent trip to Spain,” Passmore said of this latest selection.
“There are no easy games in this tournament and we obviously have a hard start with the first match against The Netherlands but the GB series has demonstrated that we can compete and this should be a great leaning experience to see exactly where we are at.”
The series also saw the return of senior cap Erin Getty to the line-up after a break from the program and she slotted back in to great effect.
“I am delighted the Erin Getty has rejoined the squad after a concerted effort on improving her fitness and she was a stand-out player in the series against GB. She combines excellent technique with a really mature reading of the game and so fitted straight back in and the girls are delighted she is back playing.
“We are very thankful to Spanish Hockey for hosting this tournament alongside a boys event given the tournament we had planned in Dublin could not go ahead due to Covid Protocols.”
The following week, the panel will see a number of changes for a three-game series against the Wales senior team with games at Jordanstown on Friday, July 16, Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18. Their summer series will conclude three more games against a Wales Under-23 side from July 21 to 23.
Under-21 5 Nations, Club Egara (Saturday, July 3 to Saturday, July 10, 2021): Charlotte Beggs (Pegasus/Ulster), Niamh Carey (UCD/Leinster), Ellen Curran (UCD/Leinster), Sophia Cole (UCD/Leinster), Amy Elliott (UCD/Leinster), Katie Fearon (Railway Union/Leinster), Laura Foley (Catholic Institute/Munster), Gemma Ferguson (GK, Ulster Elks/Ulster), Erin Getty (Queens/Ulster), Christina Hamill (Loreto/Leinster), Jane Kilpatrick (Loughborough Students/Ulster), Ellie McLoughlin (GK, Muckross/Leinster), Jess McMaster (Queens/Ulster), Lisa Mulcahy (Loreto/Leinster), Siofra Murdoch (Monkstown/Leinster), Siofra O’Brien (Loreto/Leinster), Caoimhe Perdue (UCC/Munster), Ellen Reid (Banbridge/Ulster), Yasmin Pratt (Loreto/Leinster), Abbie Russell (Old Alex/Leinster)
Non-Travelling Reserves: KJ Marshall (UCD/Leinster), Roisin Begley (Catholic Institute/Munster)
Head coach: David Passmore
Manager: Lorraine McGowan
Coach: Steven Arbuthnot
Coach: Una McCarthy
Physio: Amy Phelan
Physiology support: Lauren Daey
Analyst: Aaron Passmore
Fixture schedule (all at Club Egara, Spain; times local)
Monday, July 5: Ireland v Netherlands, 8pm
Tuesday, July 6: Ireland v Spain, 8pm
Thursday, July 8: Ireland v Germany, 6pm
Friday, July 9: Ireland v Belgium, 6pm