Ireland’s U-18 girls continued their impressive form as they shared their three game series with England in Lilleshall this week.
They opened up with a 1-0 win over the English, Amanda Haslam’s 23rd minute goal making it a fifth successive win for Richie Malone’s side. They denied a battling England, denying the hosts the chance to pull the trigger with a smartly organised defensive effort.
England had a great chance to take an early lead after Eliza Brett was brought down after just eight minutes, but the penalty stroke was well-saved. Ireland scored the crucial goal after 23 minutes when Ireland broke away down the wing and broke through a couple of tackles before Haslam netted from the left.
In game two, England levelled matters with a 2-1 win on Wednesday. Sarah Hawkshaw put Ireland ahead in the fourth minute from the game’s first penalty corner but England patiently forced their way back into the game.
Four minutes after the break, Rebekah Walker’s movement led to Lucy Wood driving down the left before cutting back inside and shooting home with a reverse-stick shot.
And England took the lead on 52 minutes. Fran Tew made a good break down the right before a hard cross into the middle of the D gave Brett the chance to confidently slam the ball home. With a win each, it left Thursday’s game three as the decider but it proved inconclusive as the sides shared a 1-1 draw.
Olivia Chilton’s strike after just two minutes proved to be England’s only goal in a game which saw both sides tiring after a hard three days. She intercepted a loose ball and hit the net in style.
Ireland, though, closed out the series as the stronger side – despite playing six games in seven days.
Haslam got the equaliser when a break caught England’s midfield out which led to the Tullamore club member scoring in the ninth minute for her second of the week.
The U-18 girls complete their summer programme with a series against Wales in Dublin starting on Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22.
Tuesday: England 0 Ireland 1 (Amanda Haslam)
Wednesday: England 2 (Lucy Wood, Eliza Brett) Ireland 1 (Sarah Hawkshaw)
Thursday: England 1 (Olivia Chilton) Ireland 1 (Amanda Haslam)