Thursday 20 June 2019

Scoring spree secures semi spot for Ireland

Ireland 11 Singapore 0

Ireland breezed into the semifinals after Singapore offered little challenge at Banbridge, allowing the Green Army to advance as group winners with the minimum of fuss. Stock photo
Ireland breezed into the semifinals after Singapore offered little challenge at Banbridge, allowing the Green Army to advance as group winners with the minimum of fuss. Stock photo

Stephen Findlater

Ireland breezed into the semi-finals after Singapore offered little challenge at Banbridge, allowing the Green Army to advance as group winners with the minimum of fuss.

Needing a point to secure top spot, it was 3-0 after 11 minutes and 7-0 after 23. There was some resistance in the third quarter, denying Ireland their biggest ever victory, but four late goals completed the rout.

Roisin Upton Katie Mullan (two each), Megan Frazer, Gillian Pinder, Sarah Hawkshaw, Lena Tice, Hannah Matthews, Anna O'Flanagan and Zoe Wilson were on target for the winners.

"We broke this tournament down into two phases; that's phase one done and we hit all our targets," Shirley McCay said after winning her 281st cap, restoring her position as the national record holder ahead of Eugene Magee.

Ireland had done the hard work with opening wins over Malaysia (2-1) and the Czech Republic (8-1) and needed just a draw against the world number 35 side - Ireland are eighth - who has succumbed to a 10-0 defeat in the last meeting between the sides.

McCay was given a rare outing up front, while top scorer Anna O'Flanagan lined out in midfield with Emma Buckley coming on for her ranking-tournament debut in goal to replace Ayeisha McFerran.

Such changes failed to dilute Ireland's potency as interim coach Gareth Grundie was able to use the tie, effectively, as a training session.

"We are always looking to improve, so we picked a few areas to practise," he said. "It was more about trying to stick to the style of hockey that we want to play - a high-paced, fast-tempo game, where we encourage ourselves to dictate the speed."

Saturday's semi-final will prove much tougher but victory will assure Ireland of a place in October's Olympic showdowns.

Ireland - A McFerran, R Upton, S McCay, M Frazer, L Tice, G Pinder, B Barr, C Watkins, S Hawkshaw, Z Wilson, D Duke.

Subs: K Mullan, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O'Flanagan, A Meeke, E Buckley.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: Dublin hurlers come of age, who will stand up for Offaly and Anthony Cunningham's unique record

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport