Ireland’s O-45 women recorded a win and a loss from their two games this weekend in Cardiff, brilliantly reversing an earlier 4-1 defeat against Wales in June with victory on the same scoreline on Sunday with goals came from captain Alison Pigot (2), Carolyn Shankey and Edwina Mulcahy.
Despite Ireland having most of the early possession, Wales were first to score when a long pass found a free player who slotted home.
Ireland continued to drive forward and were rewarded when Helen Johnston dispossessed a Welsh counter attack, passing to Pigot whose shot at goal resulted in a corner.
Her subsequent corner shot at goal from a switch move was saved but Carolyn Shankey pounced on the rebound to put Ireland on level terms and Pigot handed the visitors the lead before the interval when the same switch saw her find the backboard.
She continued to be a threat as Ireland continued to press and from their next penalty corner, Pigot’s goalbound shot found a body on the line and she put away the resulting penalty stroke.
Soon after, good combination play from the fast and hard running Sue Vincent, Shankey and Edwina Mulcahy resulted in the latter finding the net at the near post.
The Welsh went in search of a goal in the dying minutes but goalkeeper Sinead Guilfoyle restricted their goals to one, pulling off a number of saves, including directing a sure goal around the post.
A day earlier, England’s O-45s showed their class to win 4-0 but it was a much improved performance from their June encounter in Sheffield.
Ireland took the game to England with possession evenly shared. The main difference between the two sides was the speed of the English counter attack and their clinical finishing.
Against the run of play, England scored two goals, exploiting some loose Irish marking. They got their third goal from a penalty stroke after Maura O’Neill had bravely saved on the line with her body.
They added a fourth goal towards the end of the game, capitalising on a defensive error by Ireland. Pigot and Joanne O’Grady created a number of good chances for Ireland but the English defence stood firm.
Next up for the Irish O-45s is two challenge matches against the English O45s in Dublin (in Railway Union) on 3rd (12 noon) and 4th (10.30am) September.