Scotland take laurels after spectacular final series in Antrim

Men’s Indoor International Series – game three
Ireland 7 (R Canning 4, O Kidd, J Jackson, J Duncan) Scotland 8 (J Golden 5, C Golden 2, P Christie)

Scotland snatched two goals in the final minute to land a series clean sweep against the Irish men at the Antrim Forum, grabbing the win despite trailing for 33 minutes of the contest.

Ireland looked in good shape for much of the contest as Jeremy Duncan’s drive and finish put the hosts one up in the first four minutes and Ross Canning first of four penalty corner goals doubled up.

Golden brothers Cameron and Jamie have been stand-out performers this week and they levelled matters by the 15th minute only for Canning to reply in kind with his second, ekeing out a 3-2 half-time lead.

Canning added another and Oliver Kidd nicked in to make it 5-2 but it proved a slender lead as Scotland regrouped with the Golden boys getting one each to cut the gap.

Indeed, Stephen O’Keeffe was enjoying a remarkable game between the posts for Ireland, sweeping one off the line having jack-knifed his body to clear the danger.

John Jackson’s breakaway goal again kept Ireland just in front as Patrick Christie got another back for Scotland; 6-5 at the three quarter mark.

Canning’s fourth was slightly delayed as he pinged the crossbar before finding the top corner from a set piece for a 7-5 lead. But Scotland finished the strongest with Jamie Golden scoring three in the last five minutes to turn things around in spectacular fashion.

He closed the gap from a corner and when Ireland went down to five players, he weighed in with two more in the closing minute for a personal tally of five.

It meant a third successive win for the Scots in this comeback series, the first in Ireland indoors since 1987.

Ireland: S O’Keeffe, J Jackson, R Canning, C Robson, N Glassey, J Duncan
Subs: R Patterson, J Haycock, D Howard, O Kidd, R Couse, M Crooks

Scotland: G McKenzie, M Ross, A McAllister, A Lochrin, C Golden, J Golden
Subs: P Christie, J Stephen, S Stewart, G Amour, A Wilson, M Taylor

Women’s Indoor International Series – game three
Ireland 5 (A Benson 3, O Fox, C Brown) Scotland 5 (E Dark 2, S Hinds, C Watson, R Blaikie), Scotland win shoot-out 3-1

Scotland took the final laurels in suitably dramatic style as they edged out Ireland in a shoot-out following a rollercoaster 5-5 draw in the best of three decider at the Antrim Forum.

It was end to end from minute one, Amy Benson’s looping lob opening the scoring only for Ruth Blaikie to equalise and Chloe Brown to retake the lead within seconds of each other. That gave Ireland a 2-1 lead which Benson augmented but Sophie Hinds’ neat finish had it close at 3-2 at half-time.

Benson completed her hat trick early in the second half but Scotland proceeded to grind away at that lead with two Emily Dark corners making the game level and they looked to have done enough to win it when Charlotte Watson made it 5-4.

Irish captain Orla Fox, though, equalised in the closing minute for 5-5, sending the series down to a shoot-out to decide the winners. There, Scotland were faultless in attack and Carmin Dow made the crucial save.

“I don’t know what we were expecting but the first indoor games in 34 years, we will look back on this in a few weeks and it will be really positive. It was annoying to lose on shoot-outs but we progressed really well throughout the series.” Buckley reflected on a dramatic week, citing the second game as one to take a lot from.

“With indoor, you can score in a matter of seconds. It just worked out we scored two goals straight after that save. The girls kept pushing and to get eight goals against a side ranked eight places above us is fantastic.

“The Euros are coming up pretty quickly and we have Scotland in our opening game! It’s something to really look forward to.”

Ireland: E Buckley, S Patton, S Barnwell, C Brown, A Benson, L Graham
Subs: O Fox, O Patton, R McMullen L Lloyd, M Power, B Maye

Scotland: L Camlin, M Steiger, R Blaikie, M Justice, E Wilson, E Dark
Subs: C Watson, C Hay, S Hinds, F Semple, K Stott, C Dow

Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 3 (M Crooks, R Patterson, R Canning) Scotland 7 (J Golden 3, C Golden 2, P Christie 2); Ireland 7 (R Canning 4, O Kidd, J Jackson, J Duncan) Scotland 8 (J Golden 5, C Golden 2, P Christie)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland 4 (O Kidd 3, R Canning) Scotland 5 (C Golden 2, G Amour 2, J Golden);

Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 2 (S Patton, M Power) Scotland 3 (E Dark 2, M Justice)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland 8 (C Brown 5, L Lloyd 3) Scotland 3 (M Steiger, E Dark, M Justice); Ireland 5 (A Benson 3, O Fox, C Brown) Scotland 5 (E Dark 2, S Hinds, C Watson, R Blaikie), Scotland win shoot-out 3-1