Railway Union picked up their first outdoor European win to take second place in Pool A of the women’s EuroHockey and a place in the third place playoff on Monday afternoon (1pm).
They did so with a 3-0 result against Italian champions Libertas San Saba in Park Avenue, getting off to the perfect start, Kate Dillon working the ball through the centre to pick out Zara Delany on the right. Her cross was blocked but she picked up the rebound and finished for 1-0.
The Italians responded well, piling on the pressure but the Emer Lucey, Karen Clarke and Holly Jenkinson combo in defence handled it with ease and, midway through the second half, Railway got their second goal in a fantastic display of skill from Alex Speers who reverse lobbed the keeper.
Railway stayed in control for the remainder of the game and scored a third courtesy of a Sinead Walsh strike from the left post from a short corner.
That result did not guarantee them second place in the group but they got the favour they required from Belgium’s Royal Wellington won ran out 5-1 winners over Ukraine’s MSC Sumchanka.
Julie Scrayen put Wellington on their way but the Ukranians fought back with Bohdana Sadova netting a stroke to see it level at the break 1-1.
But in the second half it was Wellington who took control of the game and dominated around the pitch and scoried four goals in 15 minutes, as well as another chalked off for not hitting the backboard at corner time.
Goals from Dorianne Meuwese (two), Jill Boon and Gaelle Valcke did the damage as the Ukranians were reduced to nine players for a time while they also substituted their goalkeeper in vain in their bid to get back into contention.
But the result meant Wellington earned top spot in Pool A! with Railway finish second in the group, Sumchanka third and Libertas fourth.
In Pool B, Victorya Smolevchi took top spot despite a 3-2 defeat to Scotland’s Grove to set up a final with Wellington.
The Belarusians took the lead through a cracking reverse strike from Yuliya Mikheichyk. Grove came fighting back though and equalised a few minutes later, deflected in by Linda Clement.
And the second half started in equally lively fashion when Daniele Johnston gave Grove the lead for the first time but within a minute Victorya were back on terms as Alesia Piotukh leveled.
Both teams went in search of the winning goal and it was Grove who succeeded four minutes from time from a short corner. The first shot was saved but they worked the rebound around and Louise Baxter slotted it home to secure the five points but Victorya’s losing bonus point and superior goal difference saw them top and Grove into the third/fourth place playoff with Railway.
Pool A: Railway Union 3 (Zara Delany, Alex Speers, Sinead Walsh) Libertas San Saba, 0; MSC Sumchanka 1 (Bohdana Sadova) Royal Wellington 5 (Dorianne Meuwese 2, Julie Scraeyen Jill Boon and Gaelle Valcke)
Standings: 1. Royal Wellington 15pts (+9) 2. Railway Union 8pts (+1) 3. MSC Sumchanka 7pts (-2) 4. Libertas San Saba 0pts (-8)
Pool B: Grove 3 (Daniele Johnston, Linda Clement, Louise Baxter) Victorya Smolevichi 2 (Yuliya Mikheichyk, Alesia Piotukh)
Standings: 1. Victorya Smolevchi 6pts (+4) 2. Grove 6pts (-1) 3. Metrostroy St Petersburg 5pts (-3)
** Ireland produced a second comprehensive victory over France on Sunday afternoon as they again ran out 2-0 winners with Audrey O’Flynn’s first half drag-flick, her first international goal, and a strike from Miriam Crowley completing the win in the second half. St Andrew’s schoolgirl Gillian Pinder – stepping in for Michelle Harvey who sustained a facial injury in the first game – made her international debut for the senior team. They play their third game of the series at 12 noon on Monday with Shirley McCay set to captain the side in her 100th appearance.
Ireland: Pamela Smithwick, Chloe Watkins, Cliodhna Sargent, Shirley McCay, Aine Connery, Nikki Symmons, Audrey O’Flynn, Sinead McCarthy, Lizzie Colvin, Nicci Daly, Niamh Small
Subs: Anna O’Flanagan, Miriam Crowley, Lisa Jacob, Gillian Pinder
France: Annabelle Got, Sunita D’Halluin, Juliette Hevin, Emilie Begue, Elise Preney, Claire Sansonetti, Charlotte Boyer, Apolline Rogeau, Louise Lebaindre, Margaux De Glazain, Julie Martinot
Subs: Rosa Padilla, Marie Billore, Helene Plumart, Anne-Sophie Daire