Irish leg of World Cup prep ends with Italy draw

Women’s international test match
Ireland 2 (N Evans, Z Wilson) Italy 2 (M Vynohradova, F Carta)
Ireland’s women completed their home World Cup preparations with a feisty and open 2-2 draw against an aggressive and loud Italian side at Pembroke.

The hosts made the better start, winning a couple of corners which saw Shirley McCay and Zoe Wilson have shots charged down.

Katie Mullan was in typically bullish form throughout the tie and she played in Deirdre Duke whose shot was just about scrambled off the line.

Italy took an unlikely lead in the 16th minute when a scuffed shot by Maryna Vynohradova deflected into the goal, looping over goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran.

It took less than 20 seconds for Ireland to respond as Mullan drove into the left of the circle and sent a high reverse across goal. It was probably heading wide but Nikki Evans used her height to get over the ball and bat downwards at the right post, a poacher’s finish.

Soon after, Wilson gave her side the lead from their third penalty corner as her power strike from the top of circle was driven low into the corner.

The second half was wide open and saw Grace O’Flanagan star in goal for Ireland. She kept out a couple of corners with diving stops before Federica Carta chipped in an equaliser from the second set of rebounds after the first one had fallen her way off Lena Tice’s back.

Italy had eight corners in total while they also went down to nine players for persistent dissent. Ireland did have their chances with Ali Meeke bursting into the circle and shooting just wide while Hannah Matthews’ corner effort skimmed the post.

Mullan won her side one final corner in the dying minutes but the deflection was sent high and wide.

Elsewhere, Ireland’s Under-23 women lost 4-1 to India in Antwerp, Edel Nyland scoring in the first quarter to see the game level at 1-1 before the Asian side pulled away.

The Irish men’s Under-23 side lost 5-0 to India in their tie in Antwerp.

Ireland: A McFerran, N Evans, K Mullan (Captain), S McCay, E Tice, G Pinder, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson
Subs: G O’Flanagan, Y O’Bryne, M Frazer, E Beatty, C Watkins, D Duke, A Meeke

Italy: M Chirico, C Traverso, V Braconi, M Garraffo, D Mirabella, M Socino, C Tiddi, A Wybieralska, L Oviedo, I Pessina, M Casale
Subs: F Carta, J Singh, G Ruggieri, M Vynohradova, E Pacetta, E Mastronardi

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