Orla Fox created a little piece of history as the first Irish indoor international goalscorer since 1990 when she netted from a penalty corner in Durban on Wednesday evening.
It came during a 2-1 defeat to South Africa in game one, Fox’s goal coming five minutes from the end after Robyn Johnson and Amy Greaves had given the hosts a strong lead.
— David Passmore (@davepeha) December 4, 2019
Game two on Thursday evening finished on the same scoreline, with Edith Molikoe opening the scoring before Orla Patton equalised in the second quarter. Kara-Lee Botes, however, won the tie with four minutes to go for South Africa.
Fox captained the side for the first two tests and she says it is “a massive privilege” to be involved with the revamped side who are looking forward to the European championships in January.
“It is a really exciting time for Irish indoor hockey, even though the games are in South Africa there’s a lot of support from home too which is great to see so many people following the squads progress!
“The standard here is really high; the South Africans started with a really high tempo and capitalised on their experience together as a group. But I think we grew into the game and definitely matched them towards the end.
As for her historic goal, she added: “It’s lovely to have it but we still have another 5 games to go so hopefully there’s plenty of more goals coming from this squad as we prepare for the Europeans in January!”
The trip now moves from Durban to Cape Town and the Belleville Velodrome where four more matches will be played against the South Africans. A big crowd is anticipated as the event dovetails with the Pro Series Indoor nationals.
For coach Dave Passmore, he is enthusiastic about how much his side has learned in a short time,
“It has been great how the girls have come together and enjoy time with each other as that morale has allowed us to cover an incredible amount in the four training sessions we had before our first match.
“Although I was delighted at how competitive we were for long periods of the first match, we are on a steep learning curve and South Africa will undoubtably up their game now.
“It’s always easier to play a team you know than one you don’t. As a management team we will aim to challenge the players with varying tactics and introducing playing strategies that will best equip us for the Europeans next month.”
The tour is a self-funded one with significant support from SPAR and PSI.
** All the matches in Cape Town are being streamed LIVE on the following website: https://digitv.co.za/#/
December 4: South Africa 2 (R Johnson, A Greaves) Ireland 1
December 5: South Africa 2 (E Molikoe, K-L Botes) Ireland 1
December 7: South Africa vs Ireland, 5pm, Cape Town
December 8: South Africa vs Ireland, 5pm, Cape Town
December 10: South Africa vs Ireland, 8.20am, Cape Town
December 10: South Africa vs Ireland, 7pm, Cape Town