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Germany Win Women’s Setanta Sports Trophy
17 Jun 2007 15:41

Germany have claimed the inaugural Women’s Setanta Sports Trophy at the Dublin National Hockey Stadium with an exciting 5-2 defeat of South Africa in the Final. Ireland claimed 3rd place, defeating Scotland 2-1 earlier in the day.

Germany opened the scoring in just the 4th minute, Maike Stoeckel arriving late to power home for 1-0. And it was 2-0 after 18 minutes, Natascha Keller driving into the circle and her weak backhand shot finding its way through thanks to an effective screen across the South African goalie from a German attacker.

Germany continued to dominate possession, but South Africa almost got a goal back from a penalty corner in the final play of the half.

South Africa started the second half brightly and nearly scored but the South Africa attacker couldn’t round Frank in the German goal. And they got their deserved breakthrough with fifteen minutes remaining. A penalty corner broke down, but Leslie-Anne George fed the ball back into the danger zone for Shelly Russell to poke home from close range.

At 2-1 it wa game on again, but the Olympic Champions responded ruthlessly, forcing three penalty corners in the next five minutes and converting two of them for 4-1 and effectively end-of-game. The first was a beautifully worked slip-left move and drag flick high into the top lefthand corner of the goal by Anke Kuhn, who celebrated her 100th cap for Germany yesterday against Ireland. The second goal, and Germany’s 4th, was scored by Fanny Rinne on a rebound from a drag flick to the goalie’s pads.

Despite the scoreline, South Africa battled on and had a short corner deflected over with eight minutes to go. And two minutes later, they won a penalty stroke when a South African attacker was bowled over attempting to convert the rebound from a penalty corner. Captain Marsha Marescia made no mistake from the spot flick for 4-2.

But Germany weren’t done yet and had the final say with 5th goal from a penalty corner in the last play of the game, Maria Muller firing home from a slip right.

In the 3rd place play-off match earlier in the morning, Scotland started well, taking the lead in the 18th minute with a field goal from captain Linda Clement.

But Ireland were back on terms eight minutes later when Roisin Flinn beat several Scottish defenders in the circle before slotting home a backhand shot low to equalise.

Cathy McKean should have given Ireland the lead minutes later when she rounded the Scottish goalie, only to drag her shot to the open goal wide on the lefthand post. And she came close again in the 33rd minute, just failing to connect with an excellent attacking aerial into the circle from Nikki Symmons.

Ireland opened the second half with a penalty corner which was saved. But from then on, Scotland dominated play, controlling possession well and penning the Irish into their own half. However, despite being unable to properly clear the ball or hold possession, Ireland’s defence held up and the Scotland carved few clear cut opportunities with their best chance coming from a shot from Cheryl Valentine that was saved by Healy after some good Scottish work down the left by-line.

McKean came close again twelve minutes from time but failed to round the goalie after an Ireland breakaway.

But the winning goal came from an Irish penalty corner that had been won by Jenny McDonough in the 9th minute. Munster’s Cliodhna Sargent stepped up to score her first goal for Ireland with a fine strike to the bottom lefthand corner of the goal.

Scotland continued to press for an equaliser and Ireland continued to make heavy weather of clearing their lines and stringing passes together. But the Irish hung on and indeed could have added another when McKean robbed possession deep in Scottish territory, but her shot was saved.

So Germany claimed the inaugural Setanta Sports Trophy, with inspirational midfielder Fanny Rinne claiming the ESB Player of the Tournament.

Final Standings
1) Germany
2) South Africa
3) Ireland
4) Scotland

Source: Irish Hockey Association

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