Argentina overwhelm irish
HOCKEY: World No 1s Argentina showed a clean pair of heels to Ireland last night as Carla Rebecchi inspired a 4-1 victory at Belfield in the first of their two-game series.
Her pace in attack -- aided by Jimena Cedres, Daniela Sruoga and Delfina Merino -- was too much for an Irish defence short key centre-back Sinead McCarthy, and the visitors cut through regularly for a comfortable victory.
Nonetheless, Ireland displayed far more intent than their low-key showings against Spain last weekend and went close to an early breakthrough when Lisa Jacob's cracking effort was smothered by Maria Aladro.
Maria Barrionuevo's drag-flick and a superb individual Rebecchi strike had the visitors 2-0 up at the interval, the second coming right on the half-time hooter.
Julia O'Halloran pulled one back in chaotic style, sweeping home Emma Smyth's cross for 2-1 as goalkeeper Aladro and Alex Speers both sustained head injuries, which should have seen play stopped for danger.
But Rebecchi twice unlocked the defence to lay up simple finishes for Agustina Garcia and Luciana Aymar, the current world Player of the Year, to round off victory. Today, Gene Muller's side play their final pre-European championship tie, facing Argentina again in Belfield at 4.0.
Ireland -- P Smithwick, M Harvey, C Sargent, E Smyth, E Clarke, A Speers, S McCay, J O'Halloran, A Connery, N Symmons, A O'Flynn. Subs: M Crowley, L Jacob, N Small, C Watkins, L Colvin.
Argentina -- M Aladro, R Luchette, A Rodriguez Perez, L Aymar, A Garcia, C Rebecchi, D Sruoga, S Maccari, M Scarone, M D'Elia, M Barrionuevo. Subs: D Merino, R Sanchez Moccia, J Cedres, M Cavallero, A Lopez Basavilbaso.