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Spain and Ireland draw in first match
05 Feb 2008 20:47

The Spanish and Irish women’s team draw 1-1 in the first match of a series played in Terassa, Spain. Ireland are currently in the 1992 Olympic venue for a training camp, which also sees them take on the world number eight's Spain twice, this is all part of Ireland's preparation for their WorldHockey Olympic Qualifying Tournament which starts in April.

This game saw Munster's Holly Moffet secure her first senior cap and Ireland play at a high level. After the game Coach Muller was a little disappointed not to secure the victory "We played well as a team today, and I felt we deserved more than the tie. We have been creating quality chances in our last few matches, so getting something out of the game was satisfying."

Spain started  the match playing at a very high tempo from the whistle and put Ireland under pressure from the start particularly through the quick taking of frees which caught Ireland a little of guard in the opening moments, but a solid Irish defence stood strong and held tight.

The home side were the first on the scoring sheet when a controversially awarded penalty corner was expertly taken through a drag flick which was deflected at close range passed Goode by Spain's number 16 Sanchez. Only four penalty corners were awarded throughout the match, all in the first half and two a piece.

Despite trailing, Ireland continued to attack using the aerial ball to great effect to gain territory and create attacking opportunities but the finishing touch was not there in the first thirty five for Ireland. Coach Muller rotated the attackers in two units of three and all players worked very effectively.

Despite attacking opportunities from both sides the score remained Spain 1 - 0 Ireland at half time.

The second half saw Ireland shift the gears upwards and created several good scoring opportunities, the best coming from excellent midfield work from Symmons and Cregan who linked up well with the forward line. Ireland's attacking style of play eventually paid off when they scored their equaliser in the 45th minute, when McKean stole a ball on the left hand side, beat her defender with skill and class before planting the ball passed a stranded keeper into the back of the net.

Ireland outplayed the Spanish in the second half and any attacks against the Irish were dealt easily with a solid looking defence. Ireland looked in control as they continued to dominate the play, which lead to frustration on the Spanish side and a yellow card lead to the home side competing for ten minutes with only ten men.

A spate of injuries in a four minute period upset Ireland's rhythm, Jacob with ankle ligament damage, Symmons with a suspected broken finger and O'Brien who received a facial injury, but despite this upset the team remained focussed and the game closed out one all.

Source: Irish Hockey Association

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