Ireland’s Over-50s women continued their good start to the European Masters with a convincing 6-1 win over Wales on a hot morning in Tilburg with Cathy Walsh running up four goals.
They took the lead within five minutes when good combination play between Julie Shaw and Walsh resulted in the latter calmly lifting the ball over the keeper. Although Ireland settled well, it was Wales who won the first penalty corner and from their third consecutive corner they were awarded a penalty stroke that Judith Livesey slotted past Pamela Chittick into the bottom corner to level the scores.Ireland regrouped quick and nudged ahead a again through Walsh when Julie Doak ran across the back line and found Walsh again in the perfect place to fire home.
Before half time Ireland continued to press and a measured run from Roly Burke transferred play to Walsh who this time turned provider for Kathy Shaw to deflect home, leaving the half time score 3-1.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Wales squeezing the Ireland defence and with the midfield and forwards working hard to create scoring opportunities. However, it was the fourth quarter before Ireland added to their tally.
Maura O’Neill crossed the ball to Jane Salter whose first time pass found Walsh who again created space to complete her hat-trick. Doak was again instrumental in creating the scoring opportunities and provided the opportunity for Walsh to convert her fourth with a fine solo run on the right.
Ireland rounded off the scoring and a fine victory when Maria Whelan played a cross field pass to Julie Doak who smoothly deflected the ball into the path of Annie Lawlor who swept into the circle and blasted her shot high to the keepers left.
Perhaps the result of the day saw Ireland’s Over-55s women beat the Netherlands with goals from Tricia Lane, Deirdre Buttanshaw and Maggie Hunter as they won 3-1 to move second in their table.
At Over-45s level, Ireland had another home nations derby as they Ireland faced England in game three of the W45s competition, the latter being extremely motivated following their recent defeat to the Irish in Dublin.
England employed a very high press and made it very difficult for the Irish defence to find the runners down the channels.
The back four held out several England attacks and Mary Harkin in goal was outstanding as she was called into action many times during the opening 15 minutes.
Just before the end of the first quarter, a fantastic save by Harkin in a one-on-one with an English forward was deemed a foul and a hotly debated penalty stroke awarded.
Sarah Embery stepped up to convert and give England the lead. Ireland responded, but had mixed success in attack.
Fast reactions by Clodagh McMoreland-Lynch who smashed a ball into the circle for Ashling Schutte to deflect home an equaliser had the scores level at half time.
Ireland were still in the game despite the best efforts of England to find a winner. The defence fought a rearguard action but were unable to prevent a second England goal in the 47th minute by Sally Gibson.
Again, Ireland responded to find a equaliser, but in the final stages of the game conceded a third to Gibson to leave the final score at 3-1. Ireland are still in contention for a top 2 finish and next face The Netherlands on Tuesday morning.
The Irish 55s were the other women’s side in action with a 1-0 loss to England leaving them in second place in their five team group.
On the men’s side, the Over-40s lost 7-1 to England to finish third in their four team group. They will face Germany in their quarter-final on Thursday.
The Over-45s had a similar outcome, losing 4-0 to England to remain third in their group. They face basement side France in their last match of the initial phase.
Harrold de Jong scored the Over-55s goal in a 1-1 draw against Italy to get the side off the mark in their seven team pool.
Standings: 1. Ireland 6pts (+12) 2. England 6pts (+10) 3. Azzure (Italy) 0pts (-11) 4. Wales 0pts (-11)
Women Over 45s: Ireland 1 (A Schutte) England 3
Standings: 1. Netherlands 9pts (+8) 2. Ireland 6pts (+5) 3. England 6pts (+4) 4. Wales 3pts (0) 5. Spain 3pts (-7) 6. France 0pts (-10)
Women’s Over-50s: Ireland 6 (C Walsh 4, K Shaw, A Lawlor) Wales 1
Standings: 1. Ireland 4pt (+5) 2. England 4pt (+1) 3. Netherlands 3pts (+2) 4. Wales 3pts (-3) 5. Australia 1pt (-2) 6. Scotland 1pt (-3)
Women’s Over-55s: Ireland 3 (M Hunter, T Lane, D Buttanshaw) Netherlands 1
Standings: 1. England (2) 6pts (+4) 2. Ireland (3) 6pts (+2) 3. Netherlands (3) 2pts (-2) 4. Scotland (2) 1pt (-1) 5. Wales (2) 1pt (-3)
Men’s Over-40s: Ireland 1 (A McVicar) England 7
Standings: 1. Spain 9pts (+7) 2. England 6pts (+16) 3. Ireland 3pts (-2) 4. Italy 0pts (-21)
Men’s Over-45s: England 4 Ireland 0
Standings: 1. England (3) 9pts (+12) 2. Germany (2) 6pts (41) 3. Ireland (3) 3pts (-4) 4. Wales (2) 0pts (-5) 5. France (2) 0pts (-7)
Standings: 1. Netherlands (2) 6pts (+6) 2. England (2) 4pts (+5) 3. Spain (3) 3pts (-1) 4. Ireland (2) 3pts (-3) 5. Wales (3) 1pt (-7)
Men’s Over-55s: Ireland 1 (H de Jong) Italy 1
Standings: 1. England (4) 12pts (+17) 2. Germany (3) 9pts (+13) 3. Netherlands (3) 9pts (+9) 4. Wales (3) 3pts (-10) 5. Italy (3) 1pt (-10) 6. Ireland (4) 1pt (-14) 7. Scotland (4) 0pts (-5)