Ireland’s U-21 men and women got their Junior Celtic Cup campaigns off to confident starts as they both beat Wales 2-0 in Wrexham this evening.
Through heavy rain, the women started the weekend’s action in decent fashion despite the weather making it difficult to gain major momentum. They won the early challenges and forced their first pc after seven minutes, finding the net but the shot was judged too high.
But, just a minute later, Naomi Carroll scored the opening goal from a follow-up penalty corner. Wales enjoyed their best period soon after but Niamh O’Connor stood firm while, for the most part, Ireland held decent possession and were in control.
Early in the second period, Carroll went close to grabbing a second but the girls in green were forced to ride out a couple of sin-binnings to Sarah Greene and Emily Beatty.
In between, they had a series of corners, Nicola Gray offering a threatening presence at the top with the post coming to the rescue.
And they eventually got the clincher when Eilis Davies was sent to the bin, offering yet more space to win more corners and Olivia Roycroft weighed in with nine minutes to go.
Davies did come close to reducing the deficit on her return but her shot went narrowly wide and Ireland are now in pole position in the competition with a win over Scotland on Saturday morning winning the title.
That same outcome will see the Irish men retain the title as goals from senior internationals Davy Carson and Shane O’Donoghue – one in each half – ran up another 2-0 win.
Ireland started the stronger, creating Welsh turnovers but they failed to break the deadlock. It took a moment of class from Carson who slap-lobbed the Welsh keeper from seven yards, after good work from Banbridge’s Stephen Dowds. Mark Ingram made some important saves, especially from the Welsh drag flicker, to keep the score 1-0 at the break.
The second period was similar to the first, with Ireland controlling the majority of play, but lacked clinical finishing in the circle. However, Ireland did extend their lead with 16 minutes to go, when Philip Brown’s shot was deflected past the goalkeeper. Shane O’Donoghue may indeed have gotten the final touch, but the goal was awarded to Brown.
Skipper O’Donoghue was delighted with the application of the side, saying afterwards: “We worked hard for that win, but we know that there is more to come from this group. We need to be more careful in possession of the ball and more clinical in the last third. We look forward to taking on Scotland tomorrow.”
Ireland next play Scotland at 1pm on Saturday as they bid to retain the Junior Celtic crown.
Ireland U-21 men: Mark Ingram, Karl Lynch, Peter MacDonnell, Stephen Dowds, Kirk Shimmins, Shane O’Donoghue, Stuart Loughrey, David Carson, Stephen Cole, Stuart O’Grady, Phillip Brown Subs: Jeremy Duncan, Ben Dobson, Owen Magee, Nick Burns, Stephen West
1 Response to “Two goal triumphs put Ireland in Celtic control”
June 22, 2012 9:34 pm secret admirer says
Carson is a class act !! Really making waves in Irish Hockey at the moment !! Good to see that hard work pays off
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