Ireland passes Italy to end EuroHockey campaign

Ireland 3-0 Italy

Ireland ended their EuroHockey Championship campaign on a high note as Anna O’Flanagan’s brace backed up a solid 3-0 victory over Italy.

The record-breaking goalscorer scored in the second and third quarters to set up the victory before Ards native Zara Malseed scored her first international goal in her second full cap, putting an optimistic end to a murderous tournament.

Megan Frazer and Naomi Carroll were both rested for this one, joining Chloe Watkins in the stands with Muckross’s Sarah McAuley entering the side for her first official cap.

And Róisín Upton left in the third quarter with a head injury to let Ireland work on a shortened rotation.

With Italy having adopted a catenaccio system, the first quarter was a maze of patience as the Green Army tried to unlock a well-stocked defense. Aside from O’Flanagan’s pot shot, it went relatively smoothly but the tempo picked up a notch in the second quarter.

Ireland managed a quartet of penalty corners while Malseed showed his main strengths, shooting on sight early from half chances to test Sofia Monserrat’s padding.

And the goal came in the 27th minute when Upton advanced from behind. Her cross came dangerously off a defensive stick, but O’Flanagan didn’t stick around to wait for a whistle, clubbing the baseball into the goal.

It took Italy out of its shell somewhat in the third quarter, winning her first penalty corner, but Ayeisha McFerran was up to it, fending off the drag flick attempt of her Kampong teammate Chiara Tiddi.

The extra wiggle room came in the 42nd minute when Sarah Hawkshaw used her pace to pass her marker on the straight baseline and she made the perfect pass for O’Flanagan to sweep her second of the day.

Malseed extended the lead with expert advice, guiding his first international goal from Katie Mullan’s interception and cross. They duly closed the tie comfortably to finish sixth overall.

This left the Green Army with two wins, one draw and two losses in the competition, but it was ultimately a frustrating week, with the key goals of a first semi-final and a ticket to the World Cup. proving elusive due to the “goals scored” group stages.

Ireland: A McFerran, Z Malseed, R Upton, N Evans, K Mullan, S McCay, L Tice, H McLoughlin, L Holden, S Hawkshaw, A O’Flanagan

Subscribers: M Carey, N Daly, H Matthews, D Duke, S McAuley, L Murphy

Italy: S Montserrat, T Dalla Vittoria, I Sarnari, A Oviedo, A Moroni, S Maldonado, P De Biase, C Tiddi, S Puglisi, S Laurito, L Oviedo

Subscribers: E Munitis, A Ayala, F Carta, E di Mauro, C Aguirre, L Fernandez, L Caruso

Referees: I Makar (CRO), A Bogolyubova (RUS)

Words: Stephen Findlater


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