UDG Healthcare World League Round 2 – day two
Pool A: Ireland 2 (A Connery, K Dillon) Canada 1 (T Culley)
Set piece goals from Aine Connery and Kate Dillon saw Ireland make it two wins from two at the UDG Healthcare World League Round 2 in Belfield, seeing off Canada 2-1.
It gives them a confident start to the tournament which forms part of the Olympic qualifying process and they head Pool A after two rounds of matches.
They survived an early scare when Karli Johansen’s corner shot bounced on to Cliodhna Sargent’s foot on the line, leading to a penalty stroke. Emma Gray, however, produced a spectacular diving save to deny Sara McManus from the spot.
Canada finished the first period the stronger but Ireland soon rediscovered their early control with a high tempo display. They hit the front in the 22nd minute when Chloe Watkins’ excellent incision down the right wing drew a penalty corner which was superbly executed, Cliodhna Sargent applied the pace for Aine Connery to redirect into the roof of the goal.
From there, Ireland were much the more composed but Canada appeared to have a lock on the Irish set piece corner variations, stopping the danger at source.
Goalkeeper Kaitlynn Williams dealt with another barrage of shots to ensure that plenty of tension remained in the match, making fine saves from Megan Frazer and Gillian Pinder.
Kate Dillon eventually looked to have sealed the deal with a little over five minutes remaining from Ireland’s sixth penalty corner, bundling home after Shirley McCay’s shot ricocheted this way and that.
Thea Culley, though, made things interesting with two minutes to go when she tipped in a clever Canadian corner move, reducing the deficit. But they could not muster another attack of note and Ireland held on for the win.
The result means Ireland head their group after two matches – having beaten Ukraine 5-0 on Saturday – and will top the group on Tuesday if they draw or beat Turkey.
Speaking afterwards, coach Darren Smith said: “I thought we probably had the run of the match. If we had of taken one of three earlier chances, it might have relaxed us and we could have played more naturally. It got a little bit tight and tough after that, which we expected, but its nice to have three more points and still have room to improve.”
Ireland: E Gray, C Sargent, S McCay, M Frazer, H Matthews, G Pinder, E Smyth, N Daly, A O’Flanagan, K Mullan, N Evans
Subs: N Carrroll, C Watkins, A Connery, L Colvin, A McFerran, K Dillon, A Meeke
Canada: K Williams, K Gillis, D Hennig, T Culley, H Haughn, K Johansen, A Raye, N Sourisseau, S McManus, M Secco, B Stairs
Subs: H Stewart, A Woodcroft, S Johnston, S Norlander, A Thicke, R Beale, B Frisch
Ukraine 3 (Olena Derkach 2, Yuliia Shevchenko) Turkey 0
Ukraine bounced back from their opening day defeat to beat Turkey 3-0 in the closing game of day two of the World League. Yuliia Shevchenko got them off to a flying start with a third minute opening goal before Olena Derkach snapped up a second in the second quarter.
Derkach had the simplest of finishes to extend out the lead to 3-0 in the third quarter to confirm a comfortable victory.
Pool B: Austria 4 (V Kruger, C Zerbs, D Buchta, M Laginja) Lithuania 0
Austria started day two with a 4-0 win over Lithuania to get their first points of the competition. Viktoria Kruger’s powerful penalty corner hit squeezed its way home in the 18th minute for the only goal of the first half.
Corinna Zerbs made it two with the best goal of the tournament to date, a great run from the 25 before shooting a backhand effort to the top of the net. Daria Buchta and Marta Laginja adding two more goals in the closing nine minutes to run up a confident victory.
Chile 2 (S Filipek, D Krimerman) Belarus 1 (M Pakhanava)
Chile came from a goal down to lead Pool B with two wins from two, winning a high octane battle between two well matched teams. Maryna Pakhanava gave the Belarussians the lead in fortuitous fashion as she was quickest to react to a crash ball that bounced off the post and back into play.
Chile had to save another chance off the line but eventually found their feet and drew level in the 24th minute from a penalty stroke, awarded for a stick tackled in the circle.
Denise Krimerman then got the winner in the 39th minute when she slapped home a penalty corner direct from the top. Belarus could not sustain their challenge and two late yellow cards meant Chile held on to their win in strong fashion.
Hockey World League Round Two (all at Belfield)
Sunday, March 15
Pool A: Canada 1 (T Culley) Ireland 2 (A Connery, K Dillon); Ukraine 3 (O Derkach 2, Y Shevchenko) Turkey 0
Pool B: Austria 4 (V Kruger, C Zerbs, D Buchta, M Laginja) Lithuania 0; Chile 2 (S Filipek, D Krimerman) Belarus 1 (M Pakhanava)
Pool A: 1. Ireland 6pts (+6) 2. Canada 3pts (+4) 3. Ukraine 3pts (-2) 4. Turkey 0pts (-8)
Pool B: 1. Chile 6pts (+5) 2. Austria 3pts (+2) 3. Belarus 3pts (+1) 4. Lithuania 0pts (-8)
Tuesday, March 17
Pool A: Belarus v Lithuania, 10.15am; Austria v Chile, 12.30pm
Pool B: Ireland v Turkey, 2.45pm; Ukraine v Canada, 5pm
Thursday, March 19: quarter-finals
Saturday, March 21: semi-finals; classification matches
Sunday, March 22: Final, 5pm; bronze medal match, 2.30pm; classification matches