Women’s Senior International challenge match
Ireland 1 (N Daly) Italy 0
Nicci Daly’s 45th minutes goal saw Ireland win the first game of their three-match series with Italy, winning 1-0 at the Glade in Belfast.
She finished off a penalty corner at the third attempt after Shirley McCay’s first up shot was saved but fell to Kate Dillon who set up Daly for a handy finish.
It came from the first Irish corner of the game, won by debutante Hayley Mulcahy who had a lively outing when she was introduced early in the first half.
Indeed, she fired into the side-netting with one of Ireland’s better chances of the first half. The game saw little other goalmouth action except for a couple of Italian corners which Stella Davis in the Irish goal dealt with.
Italy, for their part, had three corners overall which required strong defensive work from Cliodhna Sargent and Davis in goal to clear their lines.
Irish coach Darren Smith said of the game: “It was great to be back with the team after the World League 2 success. I thought that we were a bit slow out of the blocks in the first half but started to put together some good passages over the third and fourth quarter.
“Plenty of improvement will be needed to progress on Saturday because Italy are a quality team and that will take the game to us”
The series is part of Ireland’s build-up for World League Round 3 in Valencia in June where the Olympic places will be decied. The two sides meet again on Saturday and Sunday, both at 2pm in Jordanstown.
Saturday: Ireland vs Italy, 2pm, Jordanstown
Sunday: Ireland vs Italy, 2pm, Jordanstown