Ireland v China Match Report

Ireland 4 (Evans, McCay, Wilson, Watkins), China 2 (Xi, Song).

Despite a string of penalty corners awarded in Ireland’s favour in the opening quarter, it was China who were first to get themselves on the scoreboard this afternoon at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD. Both sides had opportunities available to them in the opening quarter. However, Dongxiao Li of China played well to prevent Ireland taking an early lead, while Lena Tice and Yvonne O’Byrne were strong in defence to keep China at bay. The quarter ended with a chance for Nikki Evans going wide leaving the sides level as the buzzer went.

The opening goal of the match came from China’s Xiayun Xi. Roisin Upton played well to keep a shot from Peng from adding to China’s lead, with Evan’s securing the equaliser moments later. China secured a number of penalty corners in the minutes that followed, but Grace O’Flanagan was in control and had Hannah Matthews and Katie Mullan on hand to help dilute the threat. Half time again saw the team’s level.

Action resumed in the second half with a great shot at the goal for Nicci Daly, however Dongxiao Li was on form again and saved well. Ireland created a number of opportunities for themselves in the third quarter, with China defending well each time. A chance for Deirdre Duke resulted in Dongxiao Li coming out to meet her and Duke securing a penalty corner for Ireland. Matthews inserted and Upton dummied, with McCay finishing it off finding the back of the goal to give Ireland a 2-1 lead over China. The quarter ended with a near goal for China being kept out by Grace O’Flanagan.

Ireland secured a penalty corner early in the final quarter. Mullan inserted this time and a deflection from Duke gave Wilson the opportunity she needed to extend Ireland’s lead 3-1. China went on the attack after this, a shot from Li into the Irish circle sailed wide of the goal. However, Jiangxin He managed to tap the ball over Murphy’s shoulder from a rebound moments later to bring the score to 3-2.

Ireland increased their possession in the closing minutes of the game. Mullan manged to get the ball into the Chinese circle however was met by China’s defence. A minute later Chloe Watkins found herself just inside the Chinese circle with a chance. A lovely clean shot sailed past China’s Dongxiao Li to make it Ireland 4-2 China with less than four minutes remaining on the clock.

China removed Dongxiao Li shortly after to increase their outfield numbers in the closing minutes of the game. Liz Murphy saved well when China managed to secure a chance on the goal, however a penalty corner was awarded shortly after. The final two minutes saw a second penalty corner awarded. Murphy saved both attempts well, with Tice and Upton there to push the second attempt clear of any rebound danger. The final buzzer sounded, full-time score Ireland 4-2 China.

Ireland: G O’Flanagan, R Upton, N Evans, K Mullan, S McCay, E Tice, C Watkins, L Colvin, S Hawkshaw, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson,

Subs: Y O’Byrne, G Pinder, N Daly, H Matthews, E Murphy, D Duke, E Curran

China: X Zhang, J He, Y Chen, Q Guo, J Zhong, J Zhang, Z Ou, Q Cui, B Gu, M Liang, D Li

Subs: W Xu, Y Peng, X Song, H Li, X Xi, J Li, J Ye