Strong start for Irish Under-19s in Four Nations series

Ireland’s young guns completed a clean sweep from their opening Under-19 Four Nations Development Series, winning four from four games against Wales at Jordanstown.

The girls ran up a 6-0 success on Saturday, backed up by a 5-0 victory on Sunday with two comprehensive displays.

In both ties, they got off to strong starts and never looked back with Eva Lavelle and Sophie Dix setting the tone in the first quarter of the opener. Ella Brown extended the lead to three before Emma Paul, Ali Griffin and Aisling Murray chipped in.

On Sunday, it was 2-0 by half-time with Cork’s Leah O’Shea setting the ball rolling with a rocket of a backhand shot before Murray nabbed her second of the weekend.

Corner goals from O’Shea and Milly Lynch stretched the lead further before Martha McCready rounded off the weekend in style.

Picture: Billy Pollock

On the boys side, it was a much tighter double-header with game one decided by just a single goal – scored in the ninth minute by … – decided the contest.

Game two was far more open. James Maginnis and Max Anderson fired Ireland into a 2-0 lead but Wales were back on terms early in the final quarter to leave it anyone’s game.

But a brilliant Louis Rowe deflection put Ireland back in front and the game was safe when Evan Jennings and Sam Walker slipped home a couple of close-range goals. Wales did get a third back from a penalty corner but Ireland held on for a 5-3 success.

Next on the agenda for Ireland’s Under-19 teams is a trip to Lilleshall to face England with games next Friday and Saturday.

Under-19 Four Nations Development Series

Saturday: Ireland 6 (E Lavelle, S Dix, E Brown, E Paul, A Griffin, A Murray) Wales 0
Sunday: Ireland 5 (L O’Shea 2, A Murray, M Lynch, M McCready) Wales 0

Saturday: Ireland 1 (M Anderson) Wales 0
Sunday: Ireland 5 (J Maginnis, M Anderson, L Rowe, E Jennings, S Walker) Wales 3

Next week’s fixtures

Friday, July 15: Ireland U-19 girls v England, 2.30pm; Ireland U-19 boys v England, 4.45pm (both at Lilleshall)
Saturday, July 16: Ireland U-19 girls v England, 9.30am; Ireland U-19 boys v England, 11.30am (both at Lilleshall)