Classy Smith double undoes Ireland

Women’s Senior International
Ireland 0 Australia 3 (Emily Smith 2, Jodie Schultz)

Denis Pritchard’s Irish senior women’s team got an idea of the task ahead of them as Australia showed a sharp edge in their warm-up game on Sunday afternoon, six days prior to the Electric Ireland FIH Champions Challenge I.

Australia held sway for much of the tie but Ireland had their moments, notably when Nicola Gray cracked forward a great 50-metre ball to Miriam Crowley and she played in Lisa Jacob. She was through one-on-one but her initial touch put her a little wide and allowed Rachael Lynch get an angle to smother the shot.

Emily Smith showed how it is done at the far end with a divine opener, bouncing a long overhead through two defenders before steadying herself and picking out the top corner with a rising drive.

Again, Ireland forged chances with Nikki Evans skewing wide an inviting reverse-stick chance while Anna O’Flanagan’s shot ballooned off a block and the whistle went for Ireland’s first corner before Crowley could poke home a volley.

The second half saw Ireland penned back deeper and Smith made it 2-0 with 53 minutes gone when she slammed home after a nice interchange on the edge of the box. Just five minutes later, Ireland found themselves 3-0 down after Australia converted their sixth penalty corner from a low drag by Jodie Schultz.

The tie marked Brenda Flannery’s international debut, the UCD midfielder coming into the fray in the sixth minute and taking up a central role to decent effect in opposition to the vastly experienced Teneal Attard.

Ireland (v Austrailia): E Gray, M Harvey, M Crowley, E Smyth, A Speers, L Jacob, S McCarthy, A O’Flynn, C Watkins, N Atcheler, A O’Flanagan
Subs: P Smithwick, N Small, B Flannery, N Symmons, K Mullan, N Gray, N Evans

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