China punish Ireland at Berlin Invitational

Four Nations Invitational
China 5 (M Liang, M Zhong, Y Peng, X Sun, X Zhang) Ireland 2 (C Watkins, R Upton)

Ireland’s women came back down to earth with a bump in Berlin as three goals in the closing 17 minutes saw them fall 5-2 to China.

A day after beating the Olympic bronze medalists Germany, Graham Shaw’s side were right in the mix at 2-2 going into the last third of the tie courtesy of a Chloe Watkins penalty stroke and a classy Roisin Upton flick.

But the world number eight side – Ireland’s nemesis in the Olympic qualifiers in 2015 – punished the green machine with a series of later goals. The first half was fairly non-descript other than Meiyu Liang’s stroke, awarded in the 10th minute.

The tie caught fire in the third quarter with Deirdre Duke and Anna O’Flanagan combining to win the set piece that Watkins scored.

Mengling Zhong put China back in front before Upton levelled for a second time with a delightful dummy left then right before lifting her shot into the top corner for 2-2.

Yang Peng, however, swung the tie back China’s way and the game was up when Xiao Sun touched in a fourth into an open net as Ireland swapped out their goalkeeper in favour of an extra outfielder. Xiaoxue Zhang’s last minute goal added extra salt into the wounds.

Ireland complete their campaign on Sunday against Korea at 11am (Irish time).

Ireland: A McFerran, Y O’Byrne, K Mullan, S McCay, L Tice, R Upton, L Colvin, N Daly, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, D Duke
Subs: N Evans, G Pinder, C Watkins, H Matthews, E Russell, A Meeke, G O’Flanagan

China: L Dongxiao, Q Cui, Y Zhang, X Sun, Z Ou, Y Zhao, Y Peng, J Zhang, Q Yu, M Wu, X Xi
Subs: J De, N Wang, X Zhang, X Liang, L Gao, J Ye, M Zhong

Berlin Four Nations (all Irish time)
Friday: China 5 (M Liang, M Zhong, Y Peng, X Sun, X Zhang) Ireland 2 (C Watkins, R Upton)
Sunday: Ireland v Korea, 11am

Partners of The Hook