Sunday, June 15, 2008

Women's Setanta Sports: Finals

With Ireland’s training schedules at completely opposite ends of the spectrum to their visiting opponents coming fourth in both the men’s and women’s Setanta Trophy was probably not unexpected.
Competing against three highly-ranked and Beijing-bound nations apiece, Ireland’s focus was completely different as they look to reassess and rebuild their squads ahead of the 2009 European Championships.

Ireland’s women finished with a 2-1 defeat to South Africa where they competed well between the 25s but, once again, were unable to make the most of chances created.

UCD’s Lisa Jacob opened the scoring with a delightful deflection from Cliodhna Sargent’s long corner. But Marsha Marescia leveled the game from the South African’s first corner of the second half before Tarryn Bright scored from play.

It left Ireland with four defeats from four, though national coach Gene Muller felt the tournament was more abut developing for the future than being results based.

“Overall, I’m happy; especially coming up against GB and Germany we played particularly well. Against the world number 10 and number 3, we were in those games and had more chances than we probably ever had.

“Some of our young players performed way above our expectation, Shirley McCay, Roisin Flinn, Emma Clarke, Emma Stewart most of them are under 22 so they really surprised me. “

He did, though, sound a note of caution of what he hoped to work on over the summer “With our style of play, we became a little bit more expansive this tournament. We created chances on goal but didn’t capitalise on those and I felt that teams scored too easily on us at times.”

Great Britain won the overall competition with an impressive 4-1 over one of the favourites for the Olympic crown, Germany. The British team were in dominant form throughout the final, overturning their defeat at German hands earlier in the week.

Indeed, as an interesting aside, the Brits lasted the pace better and looked in better shape than I have seen them before. In a brief chat with their Director of Hockey, Dave Falconer said that the GB side's have now moved massively away from heavy weights training and as a result their players look a lot more athletic.

They were 2-0 up at half-time and 4-0 ahead before Anke Kuhn scored a late consolation as Germany relinquished their Setanta crown.

3rd/4th playoff: Ireland 1 (Lisa Jacob) South Africa 2 (Marsha Marescia,; Tarryn Bright); Final Great Britain 4 (Sarah Thomas, Charlotte Craddock, Rachel Walker, Crista Cullen) Germany 1 (Anke Kuhn)

No comments: