Youth Olympic Games, 5th/6th place playoff: Ireland 3 (Kathryn Mullan 2, Leah Ewart) South Africa 1
Kathryn Mullan’s double inside 15 minutes set Ireland on the road to victory over South Africa for the second time in three days to end their first Youth Olympics campaign in fifth place.
In a whirlwind start, Mullan broke the deadlock in the 5th minute when she benefited from greta work from captain Leah Ewart who drove into the circle and passed to the unmarked striker to score.
South Africa responded fiercely, Keisha Arnolds and Quanita Bobbs denied at corner-time before Mullan’s counter caught them cold in the 15th minute to make it 2-0.
Jacintha Jubb pulled one back before half-time but any chance of an equaliser was blocked out by a pair of Jenna Holmes’ saves. And they were to prove critical in a tense second half with Ewart settling the tie in the 56th minute.
Katherine Morris won a corner from which Mullan’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande but the rebound landed in front of Ewart who scarcely hesitated and smashed the ball into the goal.
It copper-fastened the win to round off a second win of a memorable week for the players and they were joined on a lap of honour by the South Africans after the match to take in the applause of the appreciative spectators for their efforts in the high humidity at the SengKang Stadium.
Una McCarthy, speaking after the game, was delighted with the strong finish: “the team were fantastic in the second half and thoroughly deserved the win. They have played really well all week and this was the least they deserved.”
Coach Dave Passmore added: “This young group have done exceptionally well dealing with the very difficult conditions. They have grown in stature and confidence all week and have excelled expectations in their performances and will have learned from the near misses and late goals conceded late in matches.
“They have been fantastic to work with and the support from parents and friends has been such a help to us all.”
Ireland: Jenna Holmes, Rebecca Barry, Emily Beatty, Amy Cooke, Leah Ewart (capt), Lisa McCarthy, Kerri McDonald, Antonia McGrath, Lucy McKee, Kathryn Mullan, Roisin Upton
Subs: Chloe Brown, Katherine Morris, Joanne Orr, Amy-Kate Trevor