The Irish underage international sides had another tough day at their respective tournaments with two draws gleaned from the six games played across the continent.
Ireland’s Under-23 women and Under-16 boys both enjoyed strong wins on Tuesday afternoon as they got the best of Canada and England, respectively, in their Six Nations tournaments.
Yasmin Pratt’s glorious combination with Alex Burns saw Ireland’s Under-18 girls crown an excellent 3-1 victory over Belarus to get off the mark and raise hopes of a semi-final spot at the Euros in Santander.
Nine months on from World Cup qualification, Irish coach Graham Shaw says Friday evening’s jersey presentation very much felt like “the start” of the competition proper.
The Irish underage sides endured a tough weekend on the results front with eight losses from eight outings against strong opposition at tournaments in Antwerp, Santander and Cork.
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 Irish underage teams begin a series of over 30 games this week with the Under-23s in Belgium, the Under-18s at the European Championships in Santander and the Under-16s hosting a Six Nations in Cork.
Ireland’s men fell to something of a shock loss to USA at Belfield as two goals in the closing eight minutes saw them succumb to the visitors.
Ireland eased to a facile 5-1 win over USA at Belfield with John Bessell taking the coaching role for the night with two goals in the first 66 seconds setting up the success.
Megan Frazer made her first appearance for Ireland in over two years as they continued their World Cup warm-up with a 1-0 win over Chile at Belfield
Belfield will host its first international hockey matches since October 2015 on Thursday evening as a late stand-in venue with the Irish women and men lining out in a double-header.
Ireland’s Under-16s and 18s won five out of six games with Scotland over the weekend at Jordanstown, warming up for their big summer tournaments in great style.
Anna O’Flanagan’s last minute goal saw Ireland’s women complete the Cork leg of their World Cup preparation with an upbeat 2-1 win over Japan at the Mardyke.
For a second successive game, the 53rd minute was cursed for Ireland as Japan came from a goal down to win 2-1 at the Mardyke in their World Cup build-up series.
Ireland’s Under-16 boys warmed up for their Six Nations Tournament with an ever-improving series of results in Edinburgh last weekend ahead of their big summer action.
Two goals in the 53rd minute saw Ireland fall to a 2-0 defeat to Japan in the first of their three games at Mardyke this week.
The Irish Under-23/21 selection put in some fine performances over the weekend against Wales at Santry Avenue to continue their preparation for a Six Nations tournament in Antwerp later this month.
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Coping with the forthright Dutch mentality is something Anna O’Flanagan says she initially took a while to get used to but says she will ultimately be stronger for the experience.
Craig Fulton was given a suitable send-off as three goals in the closing 17 minutes saw Ireland beat France for a second day in succession at the Mardyke.
Shane O’Donoghue is closing in rapidly on John Jermyn’s Irish scoring record as he scored the first four goals of a thumping 6-1 win over France in game two of their series.