Friday 21 July 2017

Harvey helps keep Irish elite hopes alive

Ireland 3 Azerbaijan 1

David Medcalf

The goals that had eluded Ireland's women so far in the European championships belatedly began to flow yesterday at Warsteiner Park in Monchengladbach.

The scores from Michelle Harvey, Emma Clarke and Nicky Symmons not only helped the girls in green to a 3-1 victory over Azerbaijan, they also threw under-pressure coach Gene Muller's team a realistic chance of preserving their place among Europe's elite top eight.

However, some of the gloss was taken off the win by a late penalty corner, cleverly nicked past Emma Gray three minutes from full-time by Yeon Seon Kim.

"We are not out of the woods yet," warned coach Muller afterwards, noting that the Azerbaijan captain's strike eased her team ahead of Ireland on goal difference.

The two nations are level on points as Muller's women play already doomed Italy in their final match tomorrow, while Azerbaijan meet Belgium.

The Irish men commence their quest to retain top division status today on the front foot after beating France, as they face under-achievers Russia (1.0 Irish time).

Ireland -- E Gray, M Harvey, C Sargent, E Smyth, E Clarke, A Speers, S McCay, J O'Halloran, S McCarthy, A Connery, N Symmons, A O'Flynn. Subs: M Harvey, L Jacob, N Small, C Watkins, E Colvin.

Azerbaijan -- S Nuriyeva, H Shukurzade, E Muzafforova, YS Kim, M Mammadova, C Shikurova, MS Aliyeva, S Suleymanova, H Lee, Z Mammadova, B Kim. Subs: V Shahbazova, K Aliyeva, J Huseynova, Y Gurbzsnova, S Lee.

Irish Independent

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