Ireland started the first day of the Home Nations Women’s Masters tournament with three strong wins by the O-40s, O-45s and O-50s.
The O-40s got off to a great start. They are currently holders of the Home Nations title and their first match was against a strong England side.
The Irish dominated the game and took their chances with the ever reliable Emma Glanville getting the first goal from a corner strike and Gillian Garrett dispossessing the English and scoring with a fine finish.
While England did get one back, Tara Browne in the Irish goal and her defence held strong to secure the 2-1 win. They face Scotland on Saturday at 11.15am.
The O-45s also had a strong start to the tournament beating Scotland 3-0. Ash Schutte pounced on a rebound to start the scoring and then Anne Young scored twice for the win. Mary Harkin in the Irish goal was rarely troubled. The O-45s play Wales on Saturday at 10.45am.
The free scoring Irish O50s had a great opening game beating Scotland 6-0. They face England on Saturday at 9am.
O-40s: Ireland 2 (Emma Glanville, Gillian Garrett), England 1
O-45s: Ireland 3 (Ash Schutte, Anne Young 2), Scotland 0
O-50s: Ireland 6, Scotland 0
Over-40s: Ireland 2 England 1
On a gusty Friday morning on Three Rock mountain the Ireland 40s were taking on the might that is England, who had a bone to pick with Ireland given they had taken the Home nations title from them last year following a 10 year reign!
The match pace was set immediately and it was obvious that both sides were determined to give it 110%. High-intensity hockey and strong tackles were the order of the day in this tough contest. The first quarter ended in a stalemate, however, not far into the 2nd quarter the Irish team converted a finely tuned short corner set piece which was slotted home by Emma Glanville.
The home crowd support most certainly carried Ireland through a challenging 3rd quarter where the England team had more than 7 short corners awarded. The Irish defense was solid with Tara Browne holding the back line, ably assisted by Emma ‘the Gladiator’ Glanville.
Ireland went 2-0 ahead at the start of the fourth quarter when Gillian Garrett turned over possession and carried the ball into the English circle and fired a perfect reverse stick strike off the backboard.
The English scored a consolation goal through a penalty corner with three minutes left on the clock, but it was too little too late. Final score Ireland 2, England 1.
The whole Irish team defended brilliantly as a unit throughout the match and credit must go to each individual player as nothing was left on the pitch.
Over-45s: Ireland v Scotland 45s
Ireland started the brighter of the two sides and had a short corner within two minutes of the start. Aisling Field’s shot from the top of the circle was well saved by the Scottish keeper and Ireland failed to score from the rebound.
The first quarter was all Ireland with Lynn Mills and Aoife O’Farrell combining well down the left hand side. Ireland continued to win short corners but the Scottish defence were proving difficult to break down.
The break through finally came in the 2nd quarter when JR Fisher received a ball in the circle on the right hand side and her shot beat the Scottish keeper but was saved on the line by a Scottish foot but with the umpire playing advantage, Ash Shutte was on hand to finish from close range.
Ireland were full of running now and Noreen Dockery’s ball from right back found Susan McCourt on the right wing and she took on the Scottish left back and delivered a superb pass into the circle but unfortunately the Irish shot was blocked and Scotland cleared their lines.
Anne Young doubled the scoring just before half-time with a sublime reverse stick shot from the right hand side of the circle after good work from the Irish midfield of Clodagh Lynch, O’Farrell and Nikki Thompson.
In the second half Ireland continued to attack and win corners but it wasn’t until the last quarter when Ireland finally converted this dominance into another goal. This was a well worked move by Anne Young to O’Farrell and a through pass to Thompson who rounded the keeper and passed to Young to slot home her second and Ireland’s third.
The Irish defence of Harkin and co weren’t tested in this match but stiffer tests lie ahead with Wales tomorrow at 10.45 and arch rivals England on Sunday at 3.45.
As the Irish captain Shelly Lyons said after the match “we will need to be more accurate and clinical in the circle tomorrow and Sunday if we want to win both matches”.