Big O-40s win keeps Masters tournament hopes alive

The Masters teams experienced mixed fortunes on Day Two of the Home Nations tournament taking place in Pembroke and Railway hockey clubs. The Irish O-40s had a convincing 3-0 win over Scotland while both the Irish O-45s and O-50s drew with Scotland and the Irish 50s lost to England.

Playing at 10am in Pembroke, the Irish O-40s dominated the Scottish O-40s throughout the game. Halfway through the first half, Hazel Agar put them ahead when she picked up the ball and snapped home a quick shot.

They increased their lead before half time when captain Gillian Garrett scored from a penalty corner strike. They consolidated their lead further when Julie Bell pounced on a corner rebound and Ash Schutte deflected her shot over the keeper to make the final score 3-0 to Ireland.

In the other match in this group, England beat Wales 8-0. Ireland face England on Sunday at 11am in Pembroke, needing a result to win the tournament while England, with a better goal difference, only need a draw.

The Irish O-45s had another draw, this time against Scotland. Although Ireland dominated, the first half remained goalless. The hosts went ahead early in the second half when Belfast Harlequins’ Clare Bell found the net.

But Ireland were unable to build on the lead and Scotland equalised from a penalty corner half way through the half to end the tie 1-1. England beat Wales 3-1 in the other match in the O-45s category. Ireland O-45s play England on Sunday in Pembroke at 2pm.

The Irish O-50s played two matches in Railway. After their good performance against Wales on Friday, the Irish team were confident that they could unsettle England, but found that the good basic skills of the English thwarted their game plan.

If it had not been for a series of outstanding saves from goalkeeper Helen Roche, the score could have been higher than the 4-0 final result. Ireland conceded too many corners, England scoring two of these in the first half and one in the second half, consolidating their win with a strong strike towards the end of the game.

In the second match against Scotland O-50s, Scotland had the ball in the net first from a high but dangerously deflected corner shot which was not given. Soon afterwards Cathy Walsh scored from an Irish corner following a switch move – which was queried but deemed legitimate.

Scotland equalised half way through the second half from a penalty corner. The greens went ahead soon afterwards from the goal of the game when a superb turn by Ballyclare’s Dee Wallace and cross into the circle found Cork CofI’s Dymphna Hill who deflected the ball high into the net.

But the second game of the day was starting to take its toll with tired legs and Ireland were unable to hold the lead for the remaining seven minutes. Scotland equalised with a penalty corner switch and were awarded a stroke for a foot on the line two minutes from time. The Scottish stroke taker flicked it high over the bar and so the result remained 2-2.

In the other games in the O-50s section, Scotland beat England O-55s 3-1 and the England O-55s beat Wales 3-2. Ireland O-50s play England O-55s at 12.15pm (earlier than previously advertised) in Railway on Sunday.

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