England's senior women won the first of their two international tests against Ireland in Dublin thanks to a solitary goal from 20 year old debutant Jenny Hall.
Hall, who came off the substitutes bench to score, was one of three debutants in coach Danny Kerry's young team alongside Pinoke's Harriet Cunningham and Cannock youngster Charlotte Craddock, who was making her England debut 15 months after first appearing in a Great Britain shirt.
In a well balanced but scrappy match Hall's goal came in the twelfth minute after good work down the England right led to the ball bobbling loose inside the Irish circle. Spotting the opportunity, Canterbury's Hall did well to dive to knock the ball over the line from five metres out.
With the score at 1-0 when the sides returned for the second half both teams found it difficult to acquire any command of the game. Becky Duggan in the England goal was perhaps the busier of the two 'keepers but in truth this was a match of few real chances.
Ten minutes from the end England lost Kate Walsh to injury after she took the ball on the hand and as Ireland pressed for the equalizer late in the game they forced their seventh and eighth penalty corners. However, England's defense, now missing Walsh, was up to the task and the clean sheet remained.
Speaking after the match, coach Kerry said, 'It was a very disjointed performance but that is to be expected when you have an inexperienced side which has not spent much time together. We'll look forward to Sunday's match now.'
In addition to Cunningham and Hall's call-ups to the squad earlier this week, Leicester's Hannah McLeod was a late replacement for the injured Chloe Strong for the trip to Ireland.
Ireland – England 0-1 (0-1). Goal: Jenny Hall 12 (F)
Source: England Hockey