World League Round 2
Ireland 12 (A O’Flanagan 4, N Evans 3, K Mullan, C Watkins, R Barry, G Pinder, N Daly) Kazakhstan 0
Irish coach Graham Shaw knows bigger challenges await after his green army trampled over Kazakhstan with a clean dozen as Anna O’Flanagan and Nikki Evans racked up the goals.
Speaking afterwards, Shaw told The Hook: “When you win your first game in any tournament so comfortably, you must be happy. We will look to improve game by game but this was a good start.
“I don’t think you can learn much from a game like this but gain confidence from scoring 12 goals in an International hockey match.”
It took just 5 minutes for Ireland to get on the scoresheet with Evans scoring the first of her hat-trick, followed a minute later by O’Flanagan. The Irish defence controlled the game from a position high up the pitch as they distributed the ball at will.
Again, within a minute of each other O’Flanagan and Evans doubled the lead to 4-0 by the 20 minute mark against the world number 33.
They scarcely took their foot off the gas with chances a plenty created with Evans, Mullan and a Shirley McCay corner sweep all going close.
The Green Army went up another gear as the second half began in energy-sapping conditions with the temperature reaching 30 degrees and humidity hovering at the 90% mark.
Mullan was again on hand to provide the perfect pass as she pirouetted around her marker on the base line and found Evans waiting on the penalty spot, and so the goal-deluge that was the second half began.O’Flanagan completed her hat trick in the 40th minute and Mullan got a deserved goal in the 48th. 60 seconds later, Naomi Carroll darted along the base line, drawing defenders as she went, leaving Chloe Watkins free on the penalty spot to fire home Carroll’s pass.
Rebecca Barry added her name to the scoresheet in the 51st minute with an effective penalty corner strike, while a minute later Gillian Pinder made it 10-0.
The Irish defence, along with McFerran and Cassin splitting the duties in goal, were rarely troubled and frequent bounding runs by Lena Tice and her defensive counterparts played an integral role in creating an abundance of chances.
Nicci Daly and Anna O’Flanagan rounded out the scoring to leave the final tally at 12-0 in the Green Army’s opening Pool B fixture.
Elsewhere in the group, Malaysia beat Hong Kong 9-0. The hosts are Ireland’s next opponents on Monday (12.30pm, Irish time) and Shaw knows that it will be the key game in the group.
There is a chance that there could be a bigger home crowd that could have an impact to creat a cauldron atmosphere but Shaw says there was not a huge amount of evidence that will occur.
“The crowds were pretty low today so I’m not sure what it will be like against Malaysia. They will most certainly provide a harder test than Kazakstan and we will need to play well to win the game.
“We will obviously look at Malaysia and their threats but we must focus on our own performance and play to the level we know we can. We are very much looking forward to the challenge.”
Ireland: A McFerran, C Sargent, N Evans, K Mullan, S McCay, C Watkins, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, Z Wilson, A O’Flanagan
Subs: C Cassin, Y O’Byrne, L Tice, N Carroll, G Pinder, R Upton, R Barry
Kazakhstan: G Bakhavaddin, A Mukasheva, A Urmanova, N Sazontova, O Khonina, I Domashevna, A Mahanova, A Chepkassova, I Dobrioglo, N Gataulina, S Sabazova
Subs: N Koyshibnek, G Idirissova, K Kassumova, K Bolganbyeva, M Zeinlova
Umpires: J Cumming, Y-S Kim