Ireland 0 Scotland 0
Ireland flirted with disaster in their second group game against Scotland but ultimately were the side who came closest to stealing all three points after a second half onslaught.
As such, combined with Spain’s 2-1 defeat to Germany in the day’s second game, the difference between one and three points does not massively change the equation in the chase for a semi-final berth Tuesday’s final group match.
A win against the odds against Spain and Ireland would more than likely be into the last four and earn a 2010 World Cup place into the bargain. Should Ireland end up in the relegation pool, though, the result becomes more significant.
With the spectre of Saturday’s 7-0 thrashing at the hands of reigning champions Germany looming large, Ireland struggled out of the blocks against the Scots.
They conceded four penalty corners inside the first quarter, one of which needed Shirley McCay’s quick wits to sweep off the line.
Laura Bartlett’s trickery was pinning Ireland back. But some blood and thunder defending from Bridget Cleland and Mary Goode’s fine work meant the Irish goal was relatively untroubled – McCay’s clearance aside.
The Irish did steadily grow into the game, mainly inspired the relatively old heads of Eimear Cregan and Nikki Symmons. Emma Clarke earned Ireland’s first penalty corner – of five in total – in the 26th minute, showing off one of three excellently innovative routines to create space for Symmons to shoot.
A second effort left Cregan with plenty of space on the right of the circle but the impressive Abigail Walker blocked well.
Lauren Barr needed to be alert to block another Bartlett goal-bound effort soon after the interval but from that point, Ireland were the dominant force.
Cregan once again was the spark, providing the game’s best piece of skill to dance around three tackles. Her effort came from too narrow an angle to stretch Walker but the intention sparked a move to a successful full-press.
Lisa Jacob’s steal from the subsequent hit-out created a two on one which the UCD player half-volleyed just wide of the left post.
And Ireland had their best chances right on the final hooter with two more corner shots. Symmons’ first dig was saved while Cregan stepped up for the second but again was thwarted.
It left Gene Muller with mixed feelings given the second half chances but reminded of the first half toils.
“I have mixed feelings. I was disappointed in the first half, in the second half it was fantastic. Scotland had a few more chances in the first half but in the second, we were unlucky.
“We were over-hyped in the first half. Everyone realised the importance of this game. Sometimes when you want to win too badly, you don’t play with the freedom you would hope to. But in the second half we played with freedom and creativity and a lot of desire so I was happy with how it ended.”
Ireland skipper Eimear Cregan (pictured, below left), meanwhile, said there was a real wish among the players to bounce back after Saturday’s German mauling.
“We met last night and decided that our tournament was going to start today. The Germany game, although we went out to win it, it wasn’t a priority game for the tournament.
“We sat down ‘we have to throw everything at it ‘. Scotland did that in the first half, we did it in the second. We wanted to dominate and I think we showed that in attack and that’s where we won a lot of ball. The first feeling coming off the pitch is obviously disappointment.
"We felt we were the stronger team but onwards and upwards. We can assess this performance and go out and look for the win against Spain on Tuesday.”
Ireland: M Goode, E Cregan (capt), E Clarke, E Stewart, B Cleland, S McCay, C McKean, N Symmons, E Smyth, L Jacob, L Barr
Subs: R Flinn, A Speers, L Colvin, M Frazer, M Harvey
Scotland: A Walker, V Bunce, L Baxter, C Forrest, L Bartlett, H Cram, L Clement (capt), A Robertson, E Rochlin, E Maguire, L Fawcett
Subs: A Bell, J Bryce, N Kidd, L Wrightson, R Ward
EuroHockey Nations Championships
Pool B : Ireland 0 Scotland 0; Germany 2 Spain 1
Standings (points/goal difference): 1. Germany 6pts (+8) 2. Spain 3pts (+1) 3. Scotland 1pt (-2) 4. Ireland 1pt (-7)
Pool A: Netherlands 5 England 0
Standings: 1. Netherlands 6pts (+15) 2. England 3pts (-1) 3. Russia 0pts (-4) 4. Azerbaijan 0pts (-10)
* For more of Ondine Roche's pics from the game, click here
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Ireland 0 Scotland 0
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:04 AM