Ewart edged U-21 women home; men thrash Slovakia

Women’s EuroHockey Junior Nations Championships III (B)
Ireland 2 (Naomi Carroll, Leah Ewart) Azerbaijan 1

Leah Ewart’s 62nd minute goal saw Ireland scrape to a third successive win in Lisbon as they eventually broke down a defensively minded Azerbaijan, rubber-stamping their place in the final in the process.

As it was, they only needed a point to fully confirm their place in Sunday’s decider, but they were caught in the 23rd minute from the Azeri’s first circle entry, conceding their first goal of the competition.

Corners, though, have proven a fruitful avenue for goals in this competition and Nicola Gray’s initial shot had opened the opportunity for Naomi Carroll to net the rebound just before half-time. In the face of a physical defence, Ireland created a couple of chances but breaking through again proved a tough ask until Hayley Mulcahy won another corner which Ewart (pictured) finally slotted home on her reverse.

Ireland: R Barnett, N Gray, B Flannery, S Greene, N Barr, K McDonald, A Meeke, G Pinder, E Beatty, N Carroll, O Roycroft
Subs: A-M Morton, H Matthews, L Ewart, H Mulcahy, A Curran

Results: Ireland 2 Azerbaijan 1; Portugal 0 Turkey 2
Standings: 1. Ireland 9pts (+12) 2. Turkey 6pts (-1) 3. Azerbaijan 3pts (+3) 4. Portugal 0pts (-13)

Women’s schedule:
Sunday, July 22: Final – Ireland vs Turkey, 4.30pm; 3rd/4th playoff – Portugal vs Azerbaijan

Men’s EuroHockey Junior Nations Championships III
Ireland 12 (J Duncan 4, S Dowds 2, S O’Donoghue 2, P English 2, D Carson, O Magee) Solvakia 0

The lop-sided nature of the men’s U-21 European championships was once again ruthlessly exposed as Ireland’s battle among the developing nations saw hosts Slovakia beaten 12-0.

Peter English’s corner opened the scoring before Shane O’Donoghue, twice, Jeremy Duncan, Davy Carson and Owen Magee were all on the mark. Duncan added a further three in the second half bringing his tally to eight for the week. Another tie amounting to target practice, it brought the tournament tally to 37 goals and none conceded in the three games to date.

Ireland will play Slovakia again in the final at 11am (Irish time) on Sunday where a win secures gold medal and promotion to the B Divison for Ireland in 2014.

Writing on twitter about the nature of these big wins, coach Brendon Carolan described the mood, saying: “it’s never great to beat guys like that. They are trying to develop hockey in their country. [We have to] keep planning for bigger things for the Irish lads.”

Ireland: M Ingram, M Bell, S Dowds, K Shimmins, S O’Donoghue, S Loughrey, D Carson, S Cole, P English, P Brown, D Cole
Subs: K Lynch, S O’Grady, O Magee, M Crooks, J Duncan

Results: Ireland 12 Slovakia 0; Lithuania 2 Bulgaria 4
Standings: 1. Ireland 9pts (+37) 2. Slovakia 6pts (-2) 3. Bulgaria 0pts (-23) 4. Lithuania 0pts (-12)

Men’s schedule:
Sunday, July 22: 3rd/4th playoff – Bulgaria vs Lithuania, 9am; Final – Ireland vs Slovakia, 11am

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