Women’s international test match (Sunday): Ireland 0 Germany 3 (A Vivot 2, L Altenburg)
Ireland’s women completed their pre-World Cup selection series in Germany with a 3-0 loss in a challenge match in Dusseldorf.
Nikki Evans, captaining the Green Army, got Ireland off to the brighter start as she linked up nicely with Deirdre Duke to set Katie Mullan up for the shot at the top of the circle but Nathalie Kubalski made an early save.
Moments later and Germany had a chance of their own manufactured by Lisa Altenburg as she chipped the ball over Grace O’Flanagan but Shirley McCay was on the line to rise up and bat the ball away from goal.
Naomi Carroll chased an aerial almost the length of the pitch into the corner and sent a cross into the box but the diving Duke was inches away from getting the vital touch. Germany were awarded a stroke in the 12th minute but Nike Lorenz fired the ball onto the crossbar.
The hosts upped the pressure and got their just reward when Alisa Vivot got a deflection in front of O’Flanagan from Altenburg’s initial reverse strike.
A well-worked team move from Ireland saw Anna O’Flanagan nearly pull her side level; Hannah Matthews swept the ball to Sarah Torrans who slipped it to Emily Beatty for the pass to Nikki Evans but the ball into the circle was well read by Kubalski who did enough to throw off the waiting O’Flanagan at the back post.
Germany racked up three penalty corners before their second goal came from a break into the circle that saw Vivot fed the ball on the right-hand side and send a powerful strike into the goal to make it 2-0 moments before the half time whistle.
Another penalty corner for Germany went amiss as the straight strike from the top of the circle was saved by O’Flanagan. But Germany rarely relinquished possession in the second half and Altenburg got her deserved goal and Germany’s third.
A defensive error saw Franzisca Hauke pick up the ball and send a reverse shot goalbound but O’Flanagan made a great save, Altenburg however was first to the rebound and flicked the ball into the back board.
Evans created the best chance for the Irish in the second half as she found her way into the circle but was soon swarmed on by 4 defenders before she could get the shot away. Another good save from O’Flanagan denied a snap shot by Charlotte Stapenhorst in the dying minutes of the game and the world number 6 ran out 3-0 victors.
For Ireland, they will now look to Tuesday when the final cut down to 18 players is made for July’s World Cup from the current 22 remaining.
Ireland: G O’Flanagan, Y O’Byrne, N Evans, K Mullan, S McCay, L Colvin, H Matthews, S Torrans, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, D Duke
Subs: L Tice, N Carroll, E Beatty, S Loughran, C Watkins, A Meeke, A McFerran