Women’s Senior international test: Ireland 1 (A O’Flanagan) Scotland 2 (L Cruikshank, S Jamieson)
Ireland’s women fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Scotland in the last game of the three-match series at Stormont on Tuesday.
The Scots, coached by former Coleraine, Ulster Under 21 and South Africa striker Jen Wilson, were on the back foot for most of the game.
But they were more clinical in the circle, going 2-0 up with a goal in each half before Anna O’Flanagan’s late consolation strike.
Ireland were without World Cup silver medal-winning trio, Megan Frazer, and Chloe Watkins, both of whom appeared to be carrying injuries, along with the unavailable Lizzie Colvin.
However, the hosts, who had won the first two games 2-0 and 1-0, will be disappointed that they were unable to turn their superior possession into goals, despite having the bulk of the chances.
O’Flanagan went close early on when her shot on the open side was deflected over the crossbar and then Lena Tice had a shot taken off the line following the first penalty corner of the game in the sixth minute.
The Scots went ahead in the 22nd minute from their first set-piece as Lorna Cruikshank’s shot found the net. Five minutes later, Katie Mullan’s pass set up O’Flanagan but she fired wide and the chance was missed.
Three minutes after the long break, Roisin Upton, not for the first time, joined the attacking press and stole possession.
She passed swiftly to the unmarked Ali Meeke but, once again, the shot went wide of the far post and you got the feeling this wasn’t going to be Ireland’s day.
Four minutes later, Upton got in a shot from a set-piece but Scottish goalkeeper Amy Gibson got down well to save at full stretch.
Mullan then drove down the right flank and passed to O’Flanagan but her shot went narrowly wide of the target.
The roles were reversed shortly afterwards, this time Mullan failing to trouble Gibson after an O’Flanagan assist.
In the 49th minute, Ireland forced another corner and Bethany Barr’s effort, from Shirley McCay’s slap was acrobatically cleared by a Scottish defender.
With three minutes left, the Scots, who had soaked up a lot of pressure, broke to the other end of the pitch and Sarah Jamieson fired home on her backhand to double the lead.
Ireland took off Ayeisha McFerran in order to have 11 outfield players for the last few minutes and O’Flanagan netted a penalty corner rebound with 74 seconds left but it was too little, too late.
Shirley McCay, winning her 286th cap to move one ahead of Eugene Magee previous Irish record, admitted afterwards that there is room for improvement after the loss to the lower-ranked Scots.
She said: “We’re disappointed and I think it’s a huge lesson learned when you create multiple chances and don’t take them and we were a bit loose at the back for their two goals.”
“We are in a new phase with a new head coach but we need to learn our lessons quickly, learn to take those opportunities and tighten up in defence and put teams to bed.”