Friday, June 13, 2008

Women's Setanta Sports: Ireland v Germany

The Irish women put in a vastly improved performance against Germany – one of world hockey’s major powers at the Setanta Trophy – but were unable to force home late pressure and pick off a famous draw.

Germany started in the ascendancy and took the lead 14 minutes in when Anke Kuhn fired in a drag-flick, assisted by Natascha Keller. But solid base at the back saw the young Irish side grew into the game and began to create chances of their own, winning three penalty corners before the break and Eimear Cregan going close.

Shirley McCay and Emma Clarke were in top form in midfield, the former producing a performance by which to remember her 50th cap.

Indeed, Ireland were nothing short of tremendous in the second period, with Cregan leading the line supported by the buzzing Cathy McKean and Jenny McDonough. Louisa Healy had precious little to do as Ireland dominated. Fiona Flinn almost equalised from a one-on-one but slipped her shot just by the post and there were calls for a penalty stroke.

The last five minutes was spent camped in the German half and the Irish almost snatched a draw in the final moments with a penalty corner on the final hooter.

The performance will have heartened coach Gene Muller but the result sees the women unlikely to reach Sunday’s final and a second bite at Germany. The Irish will need to beat Great Britain by a large margin to have any chance.

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