Saturday, July 24, 2010

McDonnell strike not enough for Ireland

Senior women's international challenge match
Scotland 2 (Louise Baxter, Vikki Bunce) Ireland 1 (Jean McDonnell)

Despite Jean McDonnell’s stunning second half effort, an experimental Ireland side fell 2-1 to a Scottish side also using this series to assess their options as the Forthbank hosts fielded two debutants for Saturday’s tie.

The Scots took the lead midway through the first half following a turnover and subsequent neat interplay between Louise Baxter, Sam Judge and Vikki Bunce, the latter’s square pass left Emma Gray stranded allowing Baxter to roll the ball home.

Nikki Evans and Alex Speers had the best of the Irish chances in the first period while Carmin Dow had to be particularly alert to foil an Irish attempt following a quick free hit.

But, eight minutes into the second half, McDonnell scored her first international goal – on her second cap – when she picked up Cliodhna Sargent’s pass, turned a defender and blasted past Dow.

Scotland forced a series of corners in the aftermath but their winner came from play when debutant Susan McGilveray crossed and Bunce finished off after Ireland struggled to clear.

Speaking afterwards, Irish coach Gene Muller said of the game: “We were a notch up from yesterday in terms of performance it has been heartening to have consecutive good displays. The new players continue to hold their own against a good Scottish team.”

Ireland: Emma Gray, Audrey O’Flynn, Sinead McCarthy, Cliodhna Sargent, Michelle Harvey, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke (Capt), Shirley McCay, Alex Speers, Nikki Evans, Nicola Daly.
Subs: Jean McDonnell, Anna O Flanagan, Chloe Watkins, Stephanie Quinn, Miriam Crowley
Not Used: Pam Smithwick (GK), Niamh Atcheler.

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