Welsh nip Irish win hopes in the Budd

Senior women’s international challenge match
Ireland 1 (Nikki Evans) Wales 1 (Katrin Budd)

Ireland put in a “faltering performance” as they drew with world number 27 side Wales this afternoon as Katrin Budd’s late goal saw Wales earn a share of the spoils on a day when Alex Speers was awarded her 150th international cap.

Early on, the hosts made the early running as international hockey made its debut at Mossley’s home in Newtownabbey. Anna O’Flanagan took down an accurate overhead from Audrey O’Flynn but the chance she created just eluded Katie Mullan.

Thereafter, they controlled the ball for the most part but chances were at a premium with the Welsh existing on primarily on outletting mistakes.

Nikki Evans, Chloe Watkins and Deirdre Duke did go close but the half ended scoreless while Naomi Carroll drew a strong palmed save following a mazy run from goalkeeper Roseanne Thomas before she was swapped out for Maggs Rees.

The first corner came with 20 minutes to go after Megan Frazer and O’Flanagan combined but O’Flynn dragged her effort just wide. They did eventually get in front with 13 minutes to go when Evans touched home at close range following Carroll’s superb pass.

Emily Beatty almost created another for O’Flanagan soon after but she miscued her shot but, with time running out, Wales one their only corner of the day which Budd converted to earn a share of the spoils.

Speaking after the game, Irish coach Darren Smith said: “It was a faltering performance today. We were a little tentative and gave the ball up a bit easy at times. In the attacking third we lacked precision at key moments. Overall, we are still a work in progress and we have to make sure that we give the players good clarity in what we need to achieve as a team. Tomorrow is another great opportunity to do that”

Ireland will face Scotland tomorrow at Mossley with a 7pm start. Shirley McCay will continue the run of major milestones by earning her 150th cap.

Ireland: G O’Flanagan, N Gray, N Atcheler, A O’Flynn, S McCay, G Pinder, M Frazer, C Watkins, E Beatty, K Mullan, A O’Flanagan
Subs: N Carroll, D Duke, N Evans, N Daly, A Speers, A Meeke

Wales: R Thomas, K Budd, S French, S Jones, A Welsford, L Wilkinson, C Tucker, X Hughes, E Batten, J Westwood, D Jordan
Subs: M Rees, A Brookes, P Richards, S Clayton, N Marke-Jones, R Treharne, R Bailey

Umpires: F Davitt, L Clifford

Tuesday: Canada vs Wales, 2pm; Ireland vs Scotland, 7pm
Thursday: Ireland vs Scotland 12pm
Friday: Ireland vs Scotland 12pm

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