Ireland put Turkey to sword to qualify for European Championships

Women’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers
Ireland 7 (M Carey, N Carroll, K McKee, N Carey, D Duke, R Upton, S Hakwshaw) Turkey 0
Ireland put Turkey to the sword to sign off their ticket to next summer’s EuroHockey Championships in style at the Sport Ireland Campus.

Three goals in the second and third quarter put them out of sight against the world number 33 side, putting them on course for a third successive victory and top spot, doing so without conceding a goal.

Michelle Carey, Naomi Carroll, Katie McKee, Niamh Carey, Deirdre Duke, Róisín Upton and Sarah Hakwshaw all scored in the comprehensive success, adding to earlier wins over Poland and the Czech Republic.

“Delighted; it’s really important we are competing against the best teams in Europe next summer. It is a stepping stone for Paris 2024 and that’s what the past three games are all about,” said Upton following the tournament where she was top scorer and voted player of the tournament.

“This is a new structure in the Europeans and it opens things right up. You are playing different teams you don’t normally get to meet. We dealt with it well, got a good opening win against Poland. We had a tougher game against the Czech Republic who sat very deep and today, we are delighted to put seven on the scoreboard.

“The tournament clean sheet is probably the most pleasing thing. We put a real emphasis this tournament on our defensive effort, shutting out the amount of opportunities we gave at the World Cup.”

The Limerick woman added it was a more than useful exercise for a team still evolving since the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympic cycle in 2021.

“It’s a relatively new group that only came together last April. Getting to play here in Ireland with our family and friends here was amazing for our first time having a tournament here [at the Sport Ireland Campus. Secondly, it has given us a huge opportunity to continue building. We talked a lot about holding the ball, controlling games. We had the opportunity to do that.”

The first quarter saw Ireland knock on the door to no avail with Turkey sitting deep and soaking up continuous pressure. Katie Mullan drew the best from Serpil Turker in the first minute and it started a pattern for the Green Army penning the visitors deep in their own 23-metre zone.

While that was a frustrating phase, they did not have long to wait in the second quarter to break the deadlock. The corner count started to mount and from that avenue, Upton teed up Michelle Carey to deflect in a spectacular first goal.

Two minutes later, the move was almost identical but the personnel changed; Hannah McLoughlin swept the ball to the p-spot where Carroll was diving in to guide the ball into the net.

McKee continued the brilliant run with her first international goal. It came from a Turkish corner which was blocked and filtered out to Michelle Carey who fired a 70-metre pass to the Pegasus forward behind the last defender. She was initially held up by Turker but recovered the ball to clip home the top.

It could have been even better but for Turker diving brilliantly to block an Upton penalty stroke with her glove.

The goal rush continued into the second half with Niamh Carey wrong-footing the Turkish goalkeeper from mid-circle for the fourth goal. Duke touched in a fifth when Hawkshaw cracked a reverse-stick pass to the back post.

Upton then got her third goal of the tournament with a low penalty corner shot from the left of the D to make it 6-0. Hawkshaw thumped home a cracking shot seven minutes from time to add an extra gloss on the final score sheet.

Earlier in the day, the Czech Republic secured their place in next year’s EuroHockey Championship II thanks to a 1-0 win over Poland on Sunday morning. The only goal came from Magda Smidova when she finished off from close range.

Her side had the big chances in Q1 and Q3, hitting the crossbar and going close a number of time before Poland threw everything into the final quarter. They could not find an equaliser and so faced a nervous wait to see whether they would stay ahead of Turkey and earn the other second tier ticket for 2023.`

Ireland: L Murphy, S McAuley, M Carey, S Hawkshaw, K Mullan, L Tice, N Carroll, C Perdue, D Duke, E Curran
Subs: N Carey, H McLoughlin, S Torrans, C Beggs, K McKee, C Hamill, A McFerran

Turkey: S Turker, K Guzelal, M Aslan, E Sahiner, M Oymak, S Yalcin, T Sahiner, P Kucukkoc, F Gultekin, E Bahcivan, Y Celik
Subs: Z Kendir, E Celik, I Taskiran, F Cigerli, S Kurt, C Korkmaz, S Guzeller

Umpires: R Woodcock (ENG), C Barwood (WAL)

Women’s EuroHockey Championship qualifier results (all at the Sport Ireland Campus)
August 21
Czech Republic 1 (M Smidova) Poland 0
Ireland 7 (M Carey, N Carroll, K McKee, N Carey, D Duke, R Upton, S Hakwshaw) Turkey 0

Standings: 1. Ireland 9pts (+11) 2. Czech Republic 4pts (0) 3. Poland 3pts (-2) 4. Turkey 1pt (-9)