On the second day of the women’s masters Home Nations at Three Rock Rovers, the Irish Over-40s and Over-45s continued their winning ways, while the Over-50s were held to a draw by England with the Over-55s losing to a strong English team.
The O-40s beat Scotland 1-0 to put them in pole position to retain the title if they can beat Wales on Sunday at 12.15pm. The Irish O-45s also won by a single goal margin beating Wales 2-1.
They too have two wins from two matches with their final match for the title taking place on Sunday afternoon at 3.45pm against England.
Following on from their resounding 6-0 win on Friday v Scotland (match report below), the Irish O-50s faced the ‘auld enemy’ England at 9am on Saturday morning.
They took an early lead when hot shot Cathy Walsh scored off a Kathy Shaw pass. England pressed hard for an equaliser throughout the remainder of the game and were rewarded with nine minutes left on the clock.
In a nervy end, Sinead Guilfoyle in the Irish goals snuffed out any English threats (match report below). The Ireland O-50s play Wales on Sunday at 1.15pm with a chance of the title.
The Irish O-55s team have had a tough tournament to date, playing against experienced opposition. The recently formed squad lost 1-3 to a well organised Welsh side on Friday (match report below).
On Saturday they faced a very strong English side coming out on the wrong side of a 0-6 score line. Their cause was not helped when the squad was reduced due to injury (report below).
They will regroup for an early start against Scotland on Sunday at 9.30am where they will be seeking a good performance and a win.
Saturday, June 24 results
O-40: Ireland 1 Scotland 0
O-45: Ireland 2 Wales 1
O-50: Ireland 1 England 1
O-55: Ireland 0 England 6
Sunday, June 25 fixtures
O-40: Ireland v Wales,12.15pm
O-45: Ireland v England, 3.45pm
O-50: Ireland v Wales, 1.15pm
O-55: Ireland v Scotland, 9.30am
Friday: Ireland 50s 6 Scotland 0
Ireland got off to a great start in the Home Nations with a 6-0 win against Scotland, however, the scoreline didn’t reflect the early pattern of the game.
It was Scotland who started the better of the two teams and for the first 15 minutes they pressed and harried the Ireland defence and midfield and Ireland found it hard to get any decent possession in the opening exchanges.
Scotland failed to take advantage of their opportunities and found themselves one down from Ireland’s second corner when a well-worked move was neatly finished by Roly Burke to give Ireland the lead.
Ireland increased their lead in the final minute of the half when a great move out of defence saw Julie Doak drive at the Scotland defence, slip the ball through to Joanne O’Grady who calmly slotted it past the keeper.
Ireland controlled more of the game in the second half and it wasn’t long before they effectively put the game beyond Scotland’s reach. From their fifth penalty corner of the game captain Linda Jenkinson followed in after a straight strike and converted from a tight angle on the left post in the 44th minute.
Scotland had to force forward to try to get back into the game and this meant more gaps appeared at the back and Ireland took full advantage of the opportunities they created in the remaining quarter.
Goal number four came when Ireland broke down Scotland possession in their own quarter and Julie Shaw pounced on the loose ball and her square pass found Jane Salters who neatly flicked home at the right post.
Ireland’s fifth goal followed a quick free by Julie Shaw which was picked up outside the circle by Kathy Shaw who played a neat pass into the circle for Julie Doak to convert a powerful strike off her back foot.
Ireland finished off the scoring and completed a great win when Marian O’Brien’s strong run resulted in a shot from Julie Doak but Kathy Shaw was on hand to slot in the rebound.
Saturday: Over-50s 1 England 1
Ireland and England fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw to give both teams the chance of taking the title on Sunday. Ireland started the better of the two teams and took an early lead in the third minute.
Kathy Shaw danced into the circle, took her time and neatly slipped a pass to Cathy Walsh who calmly slotted it past the keeper. Ireland continued to press in the first quarter and protected their back four very well as the midfield worked hard to deny them possession.
The pattern of play changed in quarters two and three as England changed their shape and pressed high making it difficult for the Irish to get the ball into the midfield and forward line.
England created a number of good chances but Sinead Guilfoyle in the Ireland goal was up to the task and make several super saves to keep Ireland in the game. Ireland had a couple of chances late in the third quarter through Julie Doak and Kathy Shaw but the English defence marshalled them well and cleared their lines.
England scored the equaliser with nine minutes to go when they turned over possession, fired a shot across the pitch which was touched in at the far post. The last nine minutes were nervy for Ireland as England pressed forward in search of a winner but Guilfoyle pulled off another couple of fine saves and the scores remained level at full time.
A great team performance by Ireland today with everyone working so hard to ensure Ireland go into tomorrow’s game against Wales with the chance of winning the title.
Friday: Over-55s 1 Wales 2
The Irish 55’s went 3-1 down to very organised Welsh team in their first game of the Home Countries Tournament. Wales played like a team that have played together for a number of years, Ireland on the other hand have only been together for a few months but show lots of potential.
Wales capitalised on an Irish error early in the first quarter, resulting in a deflection just in front of Roche from their first corner of the game. Their second came from their second corner was deflected this time by a Irish defender which was unfortunate for the Irish keeper.
In the third and fourth quarters Ireland produced their best hockey and their goal when Pat Stewart received the ball on the right of the circle, took it along the back line before turning it back to Captain Dymna Hill who in full stride slotted the ball past the oncoming keeper.
At 2-1 Ireland pressed for an equaliser and were unfortunate with Wales scoring their breakaway third goal.
Saturday: Over-55s 0 England 6
The 2.30pm slot on the show pitch at Three Rock Rovers was the setting for an encounter with ‘The Auld Enemy’ for the 55s. The ‘girls’ put body and soul on the line for 55 out of the 70 minutes of hard hockey and kept the score line to 1-0 through the brilliant defensive work of newbie Ursula Harper at sweeper and stalwart Helen Roche in goal.
Coach Gordon Watkins organised his team to frustrate and deny the English forwards and going into the final quarter a penalty corner goal was the only difference in the teams.
With all to play for both teams upped their game and unfortunately for Ireland the English with more in their locker scored three top drawer goals in the 56th, 58th and 61st minutes.
Ireland, after losing Dee Mooney and Pat Stewart to injury, had no more to offer and England now very much on the front foot finished with a further two well taken goals late in the game to give England a flattering 6-0 score line.
The final game of the tournament sees Ireland playing to avoid the wooden spoon v Scotland tomorrow morning at 9.30am.