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EuroHockey Girl’s U-18 Championships
Ireland 2 (own goal, Robyn Chambers) Russia 2 (Yulia Kasakova, Elena Nazarova); Russia won 2-1 on penalties to claim sixth place
For the second time in three games, Ireland were left with late heartbreak as Russia held their nerve to win a penalty shoot-out that saw the little green army relegated to the B division of European hockey.
Having come within a couple of minutes of reaching the semi-finals, it was tough to take as they led 2-1 at half-time in their must win game against Russia.
But Elena Nazarova’s goal with 11 minutes to go earned them the shoot-out chance after the two sides had finished level on points, goals scored and goals conceded, to determine who finished sixth and seventh. Elizaveta Frangulova ultimately netted the vital penalty to see them shade out Ireland’s brave effort, winning the shoot-out 2-1.
Earlier on, Russia took the lead through Yulia Kasakova in the 7th minute, sliding home on the end of a counter-attack.
Jessica McGirr had an equalised chalked off when her first-up corner hit was deemed too high but Ireland were level when Elaine Carey’s powerful ball in took a Russia stick in the circle and deflected in the 29th minute.
Two minutes later, Robyn Chambers had turned the game on its head after Zara Thom’s brilliant initial run opened the door.
Russia drew some top saves from Ayeisha McFerran early in the second half while Chambers went close to extending the lead on a couple of occasions.
But Nazarova got the one telling intervention of the half and the shoot-out ultimately went against Ireland. Russia’s captain Maria Yashchenko meanwhile was named player of the tournament.
In the medal matches, the Netherlands capped off a fantastic week of hockey as they claimed the Electric Ireland EuroHockey U-18 title with a 1-0 win over rivals Germany.
Sophie Slinkert struck the all-important goal after two minutes to claim the title. Germany for their part matched the Netherlands throughout but it was to be the team in Orange’s day as they held on to claim to the title. Netherlands Maxime Kerstholt was also named top scorer.
In the bronze medal game, England overcame France after a tense game which also went to a penalty shootout. France took the lead in the 39th minute through Ines Brabant but England equalised with 22 minutes to go through Pascale Massey.
Neither team could force the breakthrough thereafter and England prevailed in the shootout to claim the bronze medals.
Earlier in the day, Belgium confirmed fifth place when they beat Wales 2-0 with Manon Simons and Alice Weicker grabbing the goals late on for Belgium.
Ireland: A McFerran, M O’Donnell, A Gleeson, R Chambers, H Grieve, Z Thom, S Hawkshaw, R Maguire, S Twomey, E Carey, J McGirr
Subs: E Kernohan, R Gray, A Cronin, C Foley, A Oakes, E Duncan
Russia: E Lipatova, A Mokot, E Dianova, V Zelenova, A Evsyukova, M Yashchenko, E Popova, Y Kazakova, L Mkhtse, K Rudenok, M Mityaeva
Subs: Y Khairulina, E Frangulova, A Khubbatulina, M Dresvyankina, E Nazarova
EuroHockey U-18 Girls Championships:
Final: Netherlands 1 (S Slinkert) Germany 0
Bronze-medal match: England 1 (P Massey) France 1 (I Brabant), England win 3-1 on penalties
Pool C: Ireland 2 (own goal, Robyn Chambers) Russia 2 (Yulia Kasakova, Elena Nazarova); Russia won 2-1 on penalties to claim sixth place; Belgium 2 (M Simons, A Weicker) Wales 0
Standings: 1. Belgium 9pts (+8) 2. Russia 4pts (+2) 3. Ireland 4pts (+2) 4. Wales (-12)