Ireland bounce back in brilliant style at Hawkes Bay

Hawkes Bay Cup
Ireland 4 (A O’Flanagan, N Daly, C Watkins, M Frazer) India 0

The Green Army looked a different side on day two of the Hawkes Bay Cup as impressive pressure and clinical penalty corners saw them run out 4-0 victors over India.

The intensity of the game was hinted at early on as Emily Beatty was the first to bolt down the right wing and along the base line only to cross the ball behind the waiting Deirdre Duke.

Moments later, Megan Frazer, instrumental throughout, glided down the middle through three defenders only for the final pass to go astray. This was the theme of the opening quarter for Ireland; creating numerous chances but just lacking that final touch.

The pressure meant Ayeisha McFerran only had two simple saves to make in the opening half. In quarter two, Ireland’s patience was rewarded with the first corner in the 24th minute and while Chloe Watkins sweep from the top crept just wide, it was a sign of things to come.

Two minutes later, Ireland won another corner and Ireland took the lead as O’Flanagan got in front of her marker, slotting home the loose ball. The girls in green had found their rhythm by this stage and in the 28th minute they earned their third corner.

Cliodhna Sargent’s goalward sweep down the middle saw Nicci Daly pounce on the rebound and fired it home. Ireland’s high press didn’t relent and they started the third quarter with the same intensity.

Daly, coming to life in the second half, darted into the circle and punished Indian indiscipline as she earned another corner. Watkins swept the ball with pin-point accuracy low and hard into the right corner to give her side a 3-0 lead in the 37th minute.

Daly was the instigator of another corner four minutes later as her cross found a foot and captain Megan Frazer dragged the ball low into the left corner to seal with victory. The pace slowed slightly but the Irish were a constant threat and won a further five penalty corners as the quarter wound down.

After the match Coach Graham Shaw said: “We’re very happy with the performance. The team really stuck to the game plan and created a lot of opportunities, winning a lot of penalty corners but also scoring from them which is particularly pleasing”.

Their next match should prove a tougher test as they face world number 4 New Zealand on Tuesday at 7am (GMT).

A McFerran, Y O’Byrne, C Watkins, N Daly, M Frazer, C Sargent, Z Wilson, A O’Flanagan, D Duke, N Evans, P Smithwick (GK), H Matthews, L Tice, G Pinder, S Loughran, N Carroll, E Beatty, K Mullan

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