After getting into entrance twice, Eire misplaced to Japan by the odd aim in 5 to complete in fourth place on the Girls’s FIH Hockey Nations Cup this afternoon. Sean Dancer’s younger facet performed a gorgeous model of hockey all week, going toe-to-toe with a number of the greatest sides on the earth, however Japan’s innovative in entrance of aim made the distinction ultimately.
Regardless of a goalless first half, this bronze medal match was something however cagey. Japan put stress on the Eire defence within the outlet, successful loads of ball of their attacking half however tending to waste possession. Eire, in contrast, regarded harmful on the counter, Carey twins Michelle and Niamh significantly harmful utilizing their velocity and talent on the wings.
The third quarter was one for the impartial, 4 objectives being scored as Eire went in entrance twice, just for Japan to return again virtually instantly on each events.
The Japan defence proved troublesome to interrupt down, so it was all the time going to take some magic to interrupt the impasse, and it was captain Katie Mullan who, with the deftest of touches, discovered a manner by means of 5 minutes into the second half. Sarah McAuley hit a hopeful cross from the left facet. Her bouncing ball went goalward and Mullan glanced the ball previous her defender, barely altering the road of the ball and wrongfooting the Japan goalkeeper.
The umpire referred to the video umpire, asking for affirmation that it did contact an Eire stick. There was no recommendation doable and so the choice went with the on-field umpire – the aim stood and Eire went one in entrance. Japan gained their first penalty nook 4 minutes later, nonetheless, and although the preliminary shot was saved by Liz Murphy in aim, it fell kindly to the unmarked Mai Toriyama who didn’t want a second invitation to carry her facet degree.
The scores didn’t stay degree for lengthy, although, as Eire went straight again down the pitch to win their first nook of the sport, and an unbelievable workforce passing transfer noticed Niamh Carey faucet in a brilliantly executed routine to provide Eire the lead once more within the fortieth minute.
However not even a minute later, Eire conceded one more nook, and Japan confirmed their very own precision with a roofed backhand deflection to attract degree once more.
Ultimately, it was, maybe, indiscipline that price Eire, two inexperienced playing cards within the last quarter giving Japan the sting for 4 minutes of the hardest a part of the sport. With beneath 5 minutes to go, a fantastically struck ball from the suitable bounced by means of to a Japan participant on the put up who, beneath stress from her defender, put the ball throughout aim within the air, and Japan captain Yuri Nagai tapped a troublesome probability in to provide her workforce the deciding aim.
Eire withdrew their goalkeeper to play with 11 outfield for the final 4 minutes of the match, and the women in inexperienced pushed laborious for an equaliser with probabilities for Zara Malseed and Naomi Carroll, in addition to a few penalty corners, however the Japan defence stood robust to carry out for the bronze medal.
Coach Sean Dancer is happy together with his workforce’s progress, if not right now’s end result. “Clearly we’re very upset to not get the third place right now,” he admitted. “We felt we performed some actually good hockey over the previous few days and we have been up for the sport right now however credit score to Japan, they have been fairly good and so they took their alternatives. So, we’re upset with right now however total, actually happy with what we’re doing.”
He is filled with reward for the brand new match for nations simply outdoors the highest degree. “I believe Nations Cup is a superb innovation by the FIH,” he mentioned. “It permits groups simply outdoors the highest 10, like us, to play some high quality video games and it’s actually essential for us to play these video games beneath stress.
“Subsequent 12 months is a very massive 12 months for us. It’s all about preparation for Olympic qualifying and that’s going to be the subsequent step. We have to go house from right here, have a break, evaluation the issues that labored properly and work actually laborious on these little particulars to get to the subsequent step,” he completed.
Captain Katie Mullan can already see the larger image. “It’s been a incredible week when it comes to studying for this group,” she asserts. “We have now come away completed increased than our rating primarily based off the groups which can be right here. We’re upset right now to not come away with the bronze medal, and we have been upset to not get extra out of the semi-final, however we’re placing it as much as a number of the greatest groups on the earth – India [whom Ireland lost to in a penalty shootout] completed third within the Professional League final 12 months which tells you numerous about the place we’re proper now. We have now some clear issues to work on now going into 2023, however I believe after we mirror, we are able to take a number of positives from the match, particularly with such a younger group that’s coming collectively rather well and I believe the truth that we’re upset says rather a lot in regards to the group as properly.”
As all the time, Eire’s supporters have added to the gamers’ expertise. “We’ve had some incredible assist over right here in Valencia but additionally from house in Eire,” mentioned Mullan. “So simply on a private word, we need to say a large thanks to everybody who has continued to assist us on our journey. Large thanks must go to Park Developments, Softco and Sport Eire for his or her continued assist as properly.
“We have now an enormous 12 months developing subsequent 12 months and we simply need to proceed to drive on and encourage the subsequent era of children. Taking part in three main tournaments this 12 months was a very powerful ask after shedding so many gamers to retirement however we’ve stuffed the hole exceptionally, and particular point out to our employees and the dedication that they’ve proven in guiding us to be higher,” she added.