Investec London Cup, fifth/sixth playoff
Ireland 0 Great Britain 3 (Hannah McLeod 2, Emily Maguire)
Ireland left the Investec London Cup with some stinging words from Great Britain coach Danny Kerry ringing in their ears, after they finished bottom of the pile thanks to a 3-0 defeat to Great Britain in Chiswick.
Denis Pritchard’s charges were playing off against the hosts in the fifth/sixth play-off of the Olympic warm-up event and saw GB’s Hannah Macleod convert twice from close range in the first half before Emily Maguire’s corner bash netted her a first GB goal in the second half.
Ireland had started slightly the brighter with Emma Clarke forcing the first save of the game from Beth Storry but, after her initial effort, play swung Britain’s way.
The breakthrough was supplied in the 11th minute as Macleod slid in for the opening goal. She was in the right place at the right time for her second of the match minutes later.
While Ireland finished the half the stronger, they could not find the decisive touch. The second half saw fewer chances although Great Britain enjoyed the bulk of possession.
A penalty corner strike by Maguire provided the solitary goal of the half although Ireland goalkeeper Pamela Smithwick was called upon to make a series of quality saves but the wooden spoon was always the likely outcome.
In the wake of the tie, Kerry fumed at his charges’ performance, insisting they should have hammered the girls in green: “The penny needs to drop with some of the players. Our skill execution was poor and we should be putting them to the sword. It should have been a cricket score.”
Irish coach Pritchard saw things differently: “We played well in periods and created numerous turnovers but failed to capitalise on this, and then leaked two soft goals. We dominated for a period at the start of the second half but were wasteful with our circle entries and GB punished us.”
It’s back to the drawing board now for interim coach Pritchard ahead of the Celtic Cup at Lisnagarvey later this month, with chance conversion once again a priority after his side scored just once in three games last week, admittedly against top-ranked opposition. The Netherlands won the tournament, defeating surprise finalists Australia 4-1.
Meanwhile, a scratch Ireland A side made up primarily of U21players — some of whom met each other for the first time prior to the first match — performed well against a strong England A side, drawing 1-1 on Saturday thanks to a strike from Catholic Institute’s Naomi Carroll, before fatigue contributed to a 4-0 defeat against the same opposition on Sunday.
** Above picture courtesy of Ady Kerry/Great Britain Hockey, below pics from Ireland A vs England A from Adrian Boehm
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