Women’s hockey: Ireland set to face Spain and Belgium again
Graham Shaw’s young team picking up valuable experience against top-class opposition
Nikki Evans: marked the occasion of her 150th cap for Ireland with a goal against Belgium in a 4-2 defeat. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Coach Graham Shaw is using the fixtures to give the more youthful members of his squad some experience, with teenagers Hannah McLoughlin, Emma Buckley, Jessica McMaster, Erin Getty and Sarah Torrans all getting a run-out in one or both of the games.
Nikki Evans earned her 150th cap in the defeat to European silver medallists Belgium, the Hamburg player marking the occasion by giving Ireland a 2-1 lead before the Belgians sealed their win with three more goals.
Emma Russell, meanwhile, scored twice against Spain but, again, the hosts proved too strong and ran out 4-2 winners. Ireland play Spain again on Friday before their second meeting with Belgium on Saturday.