Women’s EuroHockey Junior Championship (Valencia)
Seventh place playoff: Ireland 5 (M Carey 2, L Foley 2, M Barry) France 1 (Y Lhopital)
Ireland’s Under-21 women finished off their Euro Under-21 campaign with a cathartic 5-1 win over France to end the campaign in seventh place.
For much of the tournament, Ireland have struggled to pair strong build-up play with an end product and this tie looked like following a similar route until the last 20 minutes.
Happy faces after French victory today pic.twitter.com/5b0a1iY7N9
— JuniorGreenArmy (@JuniorGreenArmy) July 21, 2019
Eight first-half penalty corners brought no return but once Michelle Carey slotted home from Jessica McMaster’s assist in the 39th minute, the shackles were off.
Laura Foley guided in from Caitlin Sherin’s corner sweep two minutes later and Michelle Barry robbed the last defender for a fantastic goal soon after for three goals in five minutes.
Carey found Foley for another in the fourth quarter before France got one back via a rare breakthrough Yohanna Lhopital – young player of the tournament at FIH Series in Banbridge – to make it 4-1.
But Ireland continued to press on and they finished their fifth goal on the stroke of full time when Carey grabbed the fifth.
It meant an overall seventh-place finish for the Junior Green Army, a tough outcome that hinged mainly on their 1-0 loss against Russia on day one when they had their chances to win the tie but were caught cold 12 minutes from the end.
Indeed, they had the far tougher group with Pool A sides beating Pool B opposition in all four of crossover matches while both Belgium (fourth – three draws) and England (sixth – two draws) managed to finish higher up the chain without winning a game.
It means a return to the B division for 2021 while a Junior World Cup spot for 2020 looks unlikely, though the FIH has yet to lay out the qualification criteria.
Ireland: L Murphy, J McMaster, J Kilpatrick, E Getty, N Carey, H McLoughlin, C Perdue, M Barry, C Sherin, E Markey, E Curran
Subs: K Fearon, C Hamill, M Carey, C Reid, L Foley, S O’Brien, H Humphreys