O’Flanagan nets on 200th appearance for green army

Women’s international test match

Ireland 2 (H Matthews, A O’Flanagan) Belgium 4 (S vanden Borre 2, A Gerniers, J Boon)

Anna O’Flanagan scored on her 200th international appearance for Ireland but the side fell 4-2 to Belgium as part of “simulation week” for the side ahead of their Olympic qualifiers.

The Green Army endured a rough start, falling 2-0 down inside three minutes against the Belgians at Abbotstown.

Hannah Matthews pulled one back before O’Flanagan added to her record Irish women’s goalscoring tally, bringing her total to 79 goals.

That made it 2-2 in the 26th minute but an instant reply from Stephanie vanden Borre saw the Belgians retake the lead before half-time while the same player added the fourth goal in the last 10 minutes.

The match was the first Irish international to be played at the National Sports Campus which will become hockey’s primary training base.

The Polytan turf is the same type as will be utilised at Tokyo 2020 and, also, will be rolled out for the Olympic qualifiers on November 2nd and 3rd.

Abbotstown was formally opened a day earlier and it will host another international tie on Thursday evening when Ireland play Korea at 7pm.

Both Irish senior squads have been utilising the pitch in their preparations for their upcoming Olympic qualifiers and continue to avail of the range of training supports and professional services offered by the Sport Ireland Institute.

Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, added: “The location of the pitch here at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus allows all national players to avail of existing science, medicine and lifestyle support services through the Sport Ireland Institute.

“This pitch will not only be a huge boost to them, but also to our up and coming players who will no doubt have been inspired by the recent performances of our women’s and men’s teams.”

The timing of the women’s fixtures this week had been requested by coach Sean Dancer to match the Olympic qualifier schedule.

The training camp this week has been tailored to “simulate” things like the preparation days leading up to the games, recovery phases, meal times and so forth.

Ireland: A McFerran, R Upton, N Evans, K Mullan, G Pinder, S Barr, L Colvin, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, D Duke

Subs: S McCay, C Watkins, S Hawkshaw, A Meeke, E Beatty, B Barr

Belgium: A D’Hooghe, J Vandermeiren, E Puvrez, A Gerniers, A-S Weyns, M Struijk, B Nelen, S vanden Borre, L Hillewaert, J Boon, A Ballenghien

Subs: S Limauge, A Raye, A Fobe, E Sinia, P Leclef, L Versavel

Thursday fixture

Women’s senior international test match: Ireland v Belgium, Abbotstown, 7pm

Partners of The Hook