Germany late strikes take gloss off Irish performance

Women’s senior international test match
Germany 3 (N Heyn, C Nobis, L Keibel) Ireland 0

Two goals in the space of three minutes in the final quarter took some of the shine off a positive Irish performance against the Olympic bronze medallists Germany in the first of their two-game series this week in Dusseldorf.

The opening quarter saw the Green Army soaking up a lot of pressure from the world number 7 side. Shirley McCay dealt with a few waves of German attacks while Lena Tice and Yvonne O’Byrne were also called upon as the Germans applied high pressure.

Discipline appeared at the core of the Green Army’s play with only one penalty corner resulting from a strong quarter by the hosts. Nicci Daly had the chance of the quarter for the Irish as the clock wound down but her shot zipped just wide.

Katie Mullan, captaining the side and fresh from Irish Senior Cup and EYHL title wins with UCD, led by example in the press, and regularly put the German side under pressure and forcing errors.

After the initial German barrage, Ireland grew into the tie and had some further good chances. Gillian Pinder was the first to draw a fine save from Julia Ciupka in the German goal while Wilson’s diving effort hit the front of the goalkeeper’s pads.

Germany earned their second PC of the game moments before the half time whistle and following a goal-mouth scramble the danger was eventually cleared to see the score remain 0-0 at the break.

Germany began the second half as they had started the first with an onslaught on the Irish circle but McCay and Hannah Matthews were alert to the shots and crash-balls in. The goal that Germany had been pushing for came in the 39th minute courtesy of Naomi Heyn, scrappy play around the goal saw the ball fall to her to scored on her reverse. P

Pinder and Deirdre Duke linked up cleverly in the German circle to earn a corner towards the end of the third quarter but the chance yielded no return as Germany cleared and quickly countered.

Pinder was again causing the German defence trouble with her gliding runs and her pass to Nikki Evans saw the final shot skim past the post. Grace O’Flanagan was on hand to make several good saves throughout the game but there was little she could do about Camille Nobis’ powerful PC strike to make it 2-0 in the 53rd minute.

Erin Getty, earning her first senior cap, didn’t look out of place against the Olympic bronze medallists with her weaving runs through midfield. The victory was sealed for Germany when Laura Keibel scored with three minutes left on the clock to round out the 3-0 score line.

Ireland: G O’Flanagan, N Evans, K Mullan (capt), S McCay, L Tice, G Pinder, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, Z Wilson, D Duke
Subs: E Buckley, Y O’Byrne, E Beatty, R Upton, E Getty, E Russell, A Meeke
Thursday, April 13: Ireland vs Germany, 3.30pm (CET), Dusseldorfer Hockey Club

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