Ireland recover from drubbing to level series against Spain

Goals from Katie Mullan and Lena Tice secure a 2-0 victory over hosts

 Katie Mullan: won her 100th cap against Spain. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho/Presseye

Katie Mullan: won her 100th cap against Spain. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho/Presseye

 

If Tuesday’s 7-0 drubbing by Spain in the first of their four-match series gave Ireland an idea of how much work needs to be done ahead of this summer’s World Cup, Thursday’s 2-0 victory over the same opposition left them in a considerably more positive frame of mind.

It was quite a turnaround in results in the space of a couple of days, Spain by far the sharper in the opening game, their four-match series against Australia in Perth last month evidently standing to them.

Three draws and a single goal defeat from that series, against the world’s fifth-ranked nation, showed they were in good shape, and if it wasn’t for goalkeeper Grace O’Flanagan Tuesday’s defeat might well have been worse.

While Ireland wilted in that game, conceding four goals in the final quarter to a side ranked five places above them at 11th in the world, they proved infinitely more resilient, not least at the back, come Thursday in the Costa del Sol.

Katie Mullan, captain for the game, opened the scoring on 29 minutes and Lena Tice converted a penalty stroke in the third quarter to seal the win. The teams meet again on Saturday and Sunday.

It’s been an especially memorable week for Cork Harlequins’ Naomi Carroll who won her 100th cap in the first of the games against Spain, the Clare woman’s decision a few years back to focus on hockey having played Gaelic football and camogie for her country, as well as representing her country at underage level in soccer, looking a wise one.

IRELAND: G O’Flanagan, A Naughton, K Mullan (capt), L Tice, G Pinder, R Upton, H Matthews, S Torrans, Z Wilson, D Duke, L McGuire. Subs: E Buckley, Y O’Byrne, N Evans, S McCay, L Colvin, E Russell, R Barry.

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