Ireland enjoy some payback
WOMEN'S HOCKEY:IT WILL hardly have erased the pain of losing 4-1 to Belgium in March’s Olympic qualifying final in Antwerp, but Ireland enjoyed a semblance of payback at Belfield yesterday when a last-gasp penalty corner strike from Audrey O’Flynn gave them an extra-time victory over their visitors in the quarter-finals of the Champions Challenge. The victory set up a semi-final meeting with the United States tomorrow.
Áine Connery had put the hosts a goal up midway through the second half when Michelle Harvey’s deflected short-corner effort fell in to her path, but Belgian captain Anoul Raes levelled with less than 10 minutes to go to force the game in to extra time.
Both sides had chances to clinch the winning goal, the best falling to Irish captain Alex Speers in the second period of extra time, before O’Flynn, top scorer in the Antwerp tournament, struck to seal a semi-final place.
Earlier in the day Scotland won through to a last-four meeting with top seeds Australia, 2-1 victors over South Africa, by beating India 3-1 on penalty strokes after the teams had drawn 1-1.
While Ireland will be in action again in the Champions Challenge in Belfield over the weekend, there’s a full programme of Leinster first division matches, Old Alexandra and Trinity both with double-headers.
After drawing their opening two games of the campaign, defending champions UCD take on Railway Union at Park Avenue, while Loreto and Hermes will also look to make it three wins out of three when they play Pembroke Wanderers and Alexandra respectively.
IRELAND: E Gray, M Harvey, E Smyth, A Speers (capt), L Jacob, S McCarthy, A Connery, N Symmons, A O’Flynn, N Atcheler, K Mullan. Subs: P Smithwick, M Crowley, N Small, B Flannery, C Watkins, N Gray, A OFlanagan.
CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE I (at Belfield) – Quarter-finals: Scotland 1, India 1. Scotland won 3-1 on penalty strokes. United States 7, Wales 2; Australia 2, South Africa 1; Ireland 2 (A Connery, A O’Flynn), Belgium 1 (A Raes), after extra time. Semi-finals – Tomorrow: Australia v Scotland, 3.0; Ireland v United States, 5.30.
Saturday: Leinster League – Division One – Old Alexandra v Hermes, Milltown, 1.30; North Kildare v Glenanne, Kilcock, 2.30; Railway Union v UCD, Park Avenue, 3.30; Corinthian v Trinity, Whitechurch, 3.45; Loreto v Pembroke Wanderers, Beaufort, 4.0.
Sunday: Leinster League – Division One – Old Alexandra v Trinity, Milltown, 4.0.