Women's International: Ireland 0 England 1

Ireland produced an encouraging performance at Belfield today but could not get the final touch to get a result against England, ultimately falling 1-0.

In the very first minute, Cathy McKean went close, picking up Bridget Cleland’s long ball, and ultimately winning the first corner of the game. She was awarded a second soon after when she was felled by veteran Kate Walsh but both went without tangible reward.

Lizzie Colvin’s cross went unperturbed while Eimear Cregan was thwarted at the top of the circle before England began to gain more control. Emma Clarke, one of the games key players, however did break through the middle, but her pass failed to connect with McKean.

England, though, got the all-important goal from their first attack in the 14th minute when the Irish defence failed to control a hard ball into the circle and Jenny Hall converted.

Emma Smyth (pictured, below right) was introduced a minute later for her debut as England began to turn the screw with Lousia Healy seeing off Walsh’s drag flick shortly before half time.

The second period again saw Ireland play well but lack the final pass or the clinical touch. Nikki Symmons sent Roisin Flynn through with a smartly taken free hit but Becky Duggan came off her line quickly to smother the opportunity. Four more corner opportunities slipped through Irish fingers while Smyth put a reverse stick just wide, after a trademark cut-in.

Afterwards, coach Gene Muller said he was “pleased with the overall performance in which Ireland dominated for periods but suffered from a lack of finishing from play or set pieces”. The second game takes place on Sunday at 11am.

Ireland: Mary Goode (GK), Louisa Healy (GK), Lauren Barr, Cliodhna Sargent, Bridget Cleland, Emma Stewart, Emma Clarke, Shirley McCay, Nikki Symmons, Emma Smyth, Roisin Flinn, Rachel Mulligan, Eimear Cregan (Capt), Cathy McKean, Lizzie Colvin, Megan Frazer.

* Adrian Boehm’s pictures from today’s game can be seen here

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