Ireland land first indoor win over South Africa in SPAR series

SPAR Indoor Hockey Series
Ireland 3 (C Brown 2, M Power) South Africa 2 (J Lardant, K de Waal)

Chloe Brown’s penalty corner two minutes from time saw Ireland pick up their first ever indoor international win over South Africa at the seventh attempt on day one of the SPAR Indoor Hockey Series in Gormanston College.

She struck the odd goal in five of a cracking, physical contest with the Irish goalkeepers Millie Regan – in the first half – and Emma Buckley after half-time put in outstanding shifts.

Early on, the visitors – who won all six meetings between the sides in 2019 – made the early moves with Edith Molikoe going within inches of breaking the deadlock while Regan used all parts of her padding, including her helmet to keep out a few early chances.

The hosts, meanwhile, went in front when Orla Macken pulled out a range of skills and won a corner which Brown expertly slotted away.

Ireland moved two up in the second quarter when Mikayla Power cleaned up a bouncing effort in the middle of the circle.

South Africa, though, started their comeback in the seconds before half-time when Jessica Lardant responded with a corner shot, 2-1 at the break.

The third quarter went back and forth with the Kayla de Waal equalising for SA and they almost got another when Eloise Walters’ shot – in her 50th international match – deflected in, but high and slightly off target with her initial shot.

The home side were denied from three corners in the closing seconds of the third quarter before the ship steadied. There were chances a plenty but Ireland won a vital corner with just under two seconds to go; it was switched left where Brown slotted in.

South Africa had some late moments but Ireland managed to hold on for the result. The sides meet again each night this week with games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 7pm and the game on Wednesday at 6pm.

Ireland: M Regan, O Macken, M Power, C Brown, O Fox, A Benson
Subs: E Buckley, S Patton, S Barnwell, K Kimber, L Graham, H Kelly

South Africa: N Serage, J Southgate, E Molikoe, E Walters, K de Waal, J O’Connor
Subs: D de Oliveira, T Kock, R Johnson, J Lardant, D van Taak, C Swanepoel