Eire girls suffered a 2-0 loss to favourites Spain of their opening match of the Girls’s FIH Hockey Nations Cup this afternoon. Sean Dancer’s aspect have been chasing the sport nearly from the outset as Spain began the sport in electrical vogue, profitable a penalty nook inside two minutes and slotting residence a slick drag flick previous Elizabeth Murphy in purpose.
Eire utilized good strain all through the match, forcing Spain to play loads inside their very own half and profitable possession with regularity. It was the ultimate cross that was lacking for the ladies in inexperienced which is a component they’ll hope to rectify transferring ahead within the match.
After that opening shock, Eire grew into the match and ahead Zara Malseed had a very good probability to carry her aspect degree when Eire gained the ball within the press within the sixth minute, however her highly effective shot went vast. And after they gained a penalty nook with 4 seconds left on the clock within the first quarter, Irish supporters have been up on their toes. Spain opted to not ship out a flyer and an Eire runner was judged to have obstructed within the circle, and so the prospect was squandered as a free out was awarded to Spain.
The second quarter went a lot the best way of the primary, with Spain profitable an early penalty nook which Eire handled properly on this event. Then Malseed once more had an opportunity to degree issues up when she shot on the reverse and drew a save by the Spanish keeper.
Lizzy Murphy in purpose made some vital interventions, displaying confidence whereas deputising for Eire’s traditional first-choice keeper, Ayeisha McFerran. One other penalty nook for Spain was shot vast late on within the quarter and Eire went on a fast break, displaying how harmful they’re on the counter however late Eire strain didn’t end in an end result and the rating remained 1-0 to Spain at half-time.
The host nation started the second half simply how they started the primary, profitable a penalty nook and scoring with devastating precision. A sweep from the left of the circle was deflected on the backhand into the roof of the online, displaying why Spain look to win corners at any time when they’re within the opposition’s circle, and that second purpose knocked the stuffing out of Eire.
Dancer’s expenses saved pushing, although, with Christina Hamill and Sarah Hawkshaw, specifically, making inroads, and a well-won nook within the fortieth minute was the reward. Roisin Upton dragged low to the left, however Spain saved properly. Eire had a lot of the possession and maintained the strain on Spain, who marked and defended tightly, absorbing every thing the inexperienced machine threw at them.
Within the last quarter, Spain performed the sidelines properly and opened Eire up as they tried to push for objectives, Roisin Upton foraying ahead together with her attribute, mazy runs. With two objectives in entrance, although, Spain have been capable of sit deep when defending and gave Eire no area to assault into as giant quantities of possession got here to nothing for the ladies in inexperienced.
Coach Sean Dancer just isn’t too fearful concerning the place Eire now discover themselves in. He mentioned: “I used to be happy with the general efficiency right now. It’s been an enormous studying curve for lots of those ladies and it began with the World Cup (in the summertime). After the World Cup we reviewed and we actually labored exhausting on a couple of areas so it was nice to see these areas come by way of right now. We need to play with velocity, tempo, we need to use the abilities that we now have and it was nice to that working properly right now.
“We need to be within the semi-final when it will get to that stage so tomorrow is de facto vital for us. We performed some good hockey right now, at phases we managed the sport properly, and that’s what we have to take into tomorrow’s efficiency.” With that being mentioned, he felt that with a bit extra innovative, it might have been a unique end result. “Dropping 2-0 is disappointing, particularly with the circulation of the sport. Each groups had some good alternatives and to Spain’s credit score they took their two penalty corners fairly properly – troublesome to cease – so we’re dissatisfied with the end result.”
Eire captain Katie Mullan is happy about how a lot her crew nonetheless has to provide on this match. “It was a troublesome first sport, I believe we dominated at instances, we had some actually good alternatives and sadly, we simply weren’t medical sufficient. I believe Spain actually took their alternatives after they had them. They have been environment friendly off their penalty nook assault and there’s a couple of issues now for us to go away and study from and put together for tomorrow’s sport, however we’re actually excited. We’re taking part in some good hockey and all eyes are on tomorrow now.”
Eire play their second Pool A match tomorrow (Monday) at 9.45am in opposition to Italy and Dancer says taking part in one of many high groups in Spain right now, units them up properly for the remaining matches. “Spain and India are the 2 highest ranked groups right here; each are going to be very exhausting to beat. I believe it helps us for tomorrow’s sport that we performed properly in opposition to Spain. Italy are a unique opponent however with the Italian and Argentinian affect, there are related performs to what Spain did right now, so we’re wanting ahead to the chance to take a step up once more tomorrow and hold doing the issues we did properly right now,” he added.
As we speak’s loss means Eire, almost certainly, must win their remaining two pool matches in opposition to Italy and Korea to complete within the high two of their group and into the semi-final matches later this week. The crew that wins the ultimate of the Inaugural FIH Hockey Nations Cup, wins a spot within the 2023 FIH Professional League.