Thursday, June 12, 2008

Women's Setanta Sports: Day One

The Irish women were given a tough time in the first half of their opening Setanta Sports fixture against a lively South African side.

It gave Gene Muller’s side a taste of the quality they will encounter this week as they fell 3-1 against a side who looked faster and sharper, probably understandable given both sides are at opposite ends of the training spectrum. This week represents Ireland’s last outing of the season while the Springboks are now looking to hit top gear with under 60 days to go to the Olympics.

The Springboks bossed the game for long periods and built up a 2-0 lead by half-time thanks to two penalty corners from Kate Hector and Henriette de Buisson (pictured above). Ireland’s fortunes improved after the break as Cathy McKean won a couple of short corners and spent longer periods in the African half.

But they were stung 10 minutes after the break by a stunning counter-attack, de Buisson crashing home after Shelley Russell’s flying dash down the right bye-line – an effort that stretched enough sinews to cause cramp.

Mary Goode was drawn into a number of high quality saves too, as the South Africans high ball
speed and stylish midfield – led by Vidette Ryan and Lesley-Ann George proved the right combination.

Good defending by Bridget McKeever and Louisa Moore – playing against her country of birth – shored things up and captain Eimear Cregan pulled one back with three minutes remaining – bundling in a penalty corner rebound.

Ireland next face a formidable opponent in Germany who won their first game against Great Britain 2-1. Natasha Keller and Marion Rodewald scored the goals in the tournament’s opener.

Results (All at Belfield):
Women: Ireland 1 (Eimear Cregan) South Africa 3 (Henriette de Buisson 2, Kate Hector); Germany 2 (Natascha Keller, Marion Rodewold) Great Britain 1 (Susie Gilbert)

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