Connery earns draw in second Italian game

Women’s Senior International challenge match
Ireland 1 (A Connery) Italy 1 (A Lovagnini)

Ireland drew the second game of their three match series against Italy 1-1 in Jordanstown, the home of the newly crowned Irish Senior Cup champions Ulster Elks.

The first half was evenly matched with Ireland shading the early exchanges, winning the only corner of the opening quarter via Thursday’s new cap Hayley Mulcahy but Shirley McCay’s shot was cleared.

Into the second quarter, great skill by Megan Frazer drew a good save from Natalia Schinoni in the Italian goal. Aine Connery earned Ireland their second PC and from a nice variation good Italian defence cleared the opportunity.

They continued to create the slightly better chances. In the 20th minute, a great cross-field ball from Emily Beatty found Aine Connery at the top of the D and her strike was palmed away by Schinoni.

Ayeisha McFerran had to be on her toes to deny Dalila Mirabella and, just as the half-time hooter was sounding, Italy won their first corner. McFerran saved but two consecutive corners followed and, from the third, Aldana Lovagnini got the touch to put Italy ahead at the break.

A quiet third quarter was followed by Ireland’s best phase in the final stanza. From a series of corners four minutes into the quarter, a Chloe Brown drag-flick clipped a foot and a further infringement followed soon after.

This time through a crowded circle the ball was deflected and touched home by Aine Connery alone on the far post.

Aine Connery celebrates her goal as Chiara Tiddi appeals to umpire Gillian Garrett. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Aine Connery celebrates her goal as Chiara Tiddi appeals to umpire Gillian Garrett. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Ireland had a chance to take the lead after good work by Brown saw a Mulcahy shot fly over from close range. For the last five minutes Ireland pressed forward but couldn’t unlock the Italian defence.

The teams meet again at 2pm on Sunday at the Ulster University, Jordanstown.

Ireland: Stella Davis, Cliodhna Sargent, Emma Smyth, Chloe Brown, Shirley McCay, Megan Frazer, Naomi Carroll, Hayley Mulcahy, Ayeisha McFerran (C), Lizzie Colvin, Nicola Daly, Hannah Matthews, Deirdre Duke, Kate Dillon, Ali Meeke, Yvonne O Byrne, Emily Beatty, Aine Connery.

Italy: Natalia Leonoir, Celina Traverso, Marta De Guiro, Constanza Aguirre, Valentina Braconi, Macarena Ronsisvalli, Eugenia Garaffo, Dalila Mirabella, Martina Chirico (GK), Giulia Galligani, Elisabetta Pacella, Maria Mercedes Socino, Martina Lecchini, Chiara Tiddi, Aldana Lovagnini, Agata Wybieralska, Giuliana Ruggieri, Marcela Casale.

Umpires: Linda Coughlan, Gillian Garrett

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