O’Flanagan reaches half century in rout of Singapore

World League Round 2, quarter-final
Ireland 10 (R Upton 3, A O’Flanagan 3, N Carroll, N Daly, K Mullan) Singapore 0
Anna O’Flanagan passed the 50-goal mark for Ireland as she continued her incredible scoring feats in Kuala Lumpur, helping the green army to a comprehensive win over Singapore.

It sets up a semi-final date with Wales – who scraped by Kazakhstan 2-1 – with qualification for World League Round 3 on the line.

Anna O’Flanagan celebrates one of her goals with Nikki Evans. Pic: Malaysia Hockey Confederation

O’Flanagan brought up her half-century in her 130th Irish cap and coach Graham Shaw paid tribute to the striker, saying: “Anna is not only a fantastic goalscorer but a great player and team mate, too. We are very proud of her achievement and there is plenty more to come.”

It took seven minutes to get on the board in another one-sided contest against inferior opposition. Lena Tice and Zoe Wilson were content to sweep the ball around the backline on a pendulum until space opened up, at which point it was duly exploited.

Naomi Carroll opened the scoring in the seventh minute before another former Catholic Institute player Rebecca Barry doubled up from a corner rebound.

Three more goals came in the second quarter with O’Flanagan gliding through a series of defenders for the third. Roisin Upton added two corners goals before half-time.

Ireland celebrate going 6-0 up. Pic: Malaysia Hockey Confederation

O’Flanagan got her second of the game in the 43rd minute courtesy of a penalty corner; it also marked O’Flanagan’s 50th senior goal as she rapidly closes in on Lyndsey McVicker’s highest total of 65.

Two minutes later, Upton completed her impressive hat trick from another corner. O’Flanagan rounded out her own hat trick in the fourth quarter while Nicci Daly and Katie Mullan again added their names to the scoresheet further

Speaking after today’s victory, head coach Graham Shaw said: “Today was all about getting the result. It’s very difficult to play hockey against a team with all 11 players inside the circle. We’re looking forward to the semi-final now.”

Ireland will play Wales next after they needed a goal six minutes from time to beat the Kazakhs.

“We will continue to prepare like we do every other international game. We must remain focused on the job ahead.

“Wales have played well in the tournament and got better with each game. They have good, tight skills, are very fit and have a strong defence. We are looking forward to the challenge.”

Ireland: A McFerran, C Sargent, N Evans, K Mullan (captain), S McCay, C Watkins, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson
Subs: C Cassin, Y O’Byrne, L Tice, N Carroll, G Pinder, R Upton, R Barry

Katie Mullan battles for possession. Picture: Malaysian Hockey Confederation

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