South Africa edge defensive battle in SPAR Indoor Series game three

SPAR Indoor Hockey Series
Ireland 0 South Africa 1 (K de Waal)

Kayla de Waal’s 26th minute solo goal was all that stood between South Africa and Ireland on day three of the SPAR Indoor Hockey Series in Gormanston Park.

The win edged the visitors in front in the series 2-1 with further games at the same venue on Thursday and Friday evening.

Indeed, it was far cagier than the first two outings in which Ireland prevailed 3-2 before the African side bounced back to succeed 5-3 in game two.

The first quarter was the first stanza of the series not to trouble the scoreboard. Both sides had a corner each but neither drew a save from either Emma Buckley or Nepo Serage.

Likewise, the second quarter settled into a maze of patience with Rob Abbott’s Irish side settling into a dice formation which limited chances despite some neat South African passing moves.

Amy Benson had the biggest Irish chance but Jessica O’Connor did enough to snuff out the danger, keeping it scoreless into half-time.

Soon after the big break, it appeared to be opening up as South Africa earned a couple of corners while Ireland countered well.

But the vital moment came when de Waal swooped to rob Chloe Brown in her own circle and, in the next movement, flicked to the corner, inducing a fist-pump that has become her trademark this week.

Ireland battled hard to eke out an equaliser, Benson going closest from an excellent Brown set-up while de Waal hit the outside of the post for a potential insurance goal with two minutes to go.

Ireland: E Buckley, O Macken, O Fox, C Brown, O Patton, A Benson
Subs: H Kelly, L Lloyd, E Curran, M Regan, S Barnwell, R McMullen

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