Women’s indoor hockey coach ‘immensely proud’ of Ireland’s efforts in Spain

Abbott says there will be plenty of take from EuroHockey Indoor Championship II despite five defeats

The Ireland women’s indoor hockey team

The Ireland women’s indoor hockey team

 

Irish women’s indoor coach Rob Abbott said he was “immensely proud” of his side’s efforts at the EuroHockey Indoor Championship II in Spain in their first appearance at this level for 30 years.

Ultimately they fell to five defeats out of five to end the competition in last place but, with a tournament restructure for 2024, Abbott says there will be plenty of take from this series when they compete at the same level in two years’ time.

“Immensely proud of how the girls played,” Abbott said after the tournament. “I certainly can’t fault the commitment, heart or morale. The camaraderie on and off the pitch has been great fun. Big learning curve; we have to improve in areas but overall I deem this a success. They represented Irish indoor hockey pretty well.”

After defeats to Poland and Belgium on Friday, Ireland started well on Saturday against world number seven side Switzerland, leading early on through Orla Patton and they went in level at half time. But a penalty stroke decision early in the second half proved a momentum shifter as Sofie Stomps put the Swiss in front and despite a Lily Lloyd goal, it ended with a 5-2 final outcome.

Against Scotland, Ireland were level twice in the first half, with Orla Macken scoring her first international goals, but Fiona Semple’s 18th minute effort proved the winner. That made it 3-2 before half time, and despite an end-to-end second half no further goals accrued.

The tournament concluded with Ireland facing hosts Spain, who needed a win to land the title and promotion to Europe’s top tier. But they knew they were in a game early on as Ireland defended well before landing a couple of corners and created a couple of other chances. They were left to rue not taking one of those as the game turned in the 100 seconds before half-time with Spain going 1-0 up through the legendary Rocio Ybarra, before Maider Altuna added another in quick succession.

It ended 4-0 to the delight of the noisy home support who celebrated their title but Abbott was pleased with how his side showed up against more resourced and experienced opponents.

EuroHockey Indoor Championships II

Saturday: Ireland 2 Switzerland 5; Ireland 2 Scotland 3

Sunday: Spain 4 Ireland 0

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