Ireland’s U-18 boys and girls completed a first ever Home Nations double at Garryduff yesterday, both picking up the results they required from their final game of the four nations competition.
Needing only a draw to annex the title, the boys recorded a comfortable 4-0 win over Wales while the women cut it much finer.
They lost 1-0 to Scotland but prevailed in a three-way tie in the final standings with the Scots and England by virtue of a single strike on goal difference.
Shane O’Donoghue, again, was the inspiration for the boys, bagging his second hat-trick in three days to bring his tournament tally to seven in total. It was a consummate performance in spite of tired legs as Ireland played on the counter-attack to perfect effect.
The Glenanne man made the first for himself, bursting through from halfway before exchanging a pass with Luke Chadwick. O’Donoghue’s run was illegally cut short by the Welsh goalkeeper but he dusted himself off to convert the ensuing penalty stroke for the only goal of the first half.
He added a penalty corner drag-flick before nut-megging the goalkeeper for the third of the day. Tom Samuel completed the rout when he won possession in midfield, found the ubiquitous O’Donoghue who drew the goalkeeper before laying up for the diving Samuel at the back post to score.
The girl’s success – their first ever at this level – was a much tighter affair as Sarah Robertson’s 12th minute goal left Ireland on tenterhooks for the remainder of the tie.
Richie Malone’s side largely dominated with Vanessa Surgeoner and Katie Codyre both striking the post while the fine work of Emily Beatty, Nicola Gray and Dora Gorman helped create a series of chances.
None were completed, though, to leave Ireland susceptible to a counter-attack that might dash their hopes. It never came and left the girls in green top on goal difference.
U-18 Boys Home Nations results
Ireland 4 (S O’Donoghue 3, T Samuel) Wales 0; England 5 (N Bandurak 2, W Byas, J Hardy, N Giles) Scotland 0
1. Ireland 9pts (+7) 2. England 6pts (+8) 3. Wales 3pts (-3) 4. Scotland 0pts (-12)
U-18 Girl’s Home Nations result
Ireland 0 Scotland 1 (S Robertson)
Final standings (points/goal difference):
1. Ireland 6pts (+2) 2= Scotland 6pts (+1) 2= England 3pts (+1) 4. Wales 0pts (-4)
* For Ondine Roche and Simon MacAllister's photos on Irish Hockey Photographers from the weekend of action at Garryduff, click here. Adrian Boehm's photos will be added during the week.
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