Ireland 2 South Africa 1
Ireland, sponsored by Electric Ireland, played South Africa today in the first of two training matches in Johannesburg as part of their warm weather training in the build up to their FIH Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The early moments of this game presented both sides with goal scoring opportunities but it was Ireland who had the first break through when Cliodhna Sargent hammered home from a penalty corner to take the lead in the 18th minute. The home side immediately countered securing a penalty corner and despite Pamela Smithwick saving Kim Hubach’s drag flick she could do little to stop Jade Mayne’s rebound effort which levelled the sides.
Ireland’s defence got to show their composure coping very well as the South African’s gained attacking momentum but some great defensive play ensured the sides were 1-1 at the break.
Ireland were first out of the traps, mounting the first attack of the second half putting the home side under some serious pressure with shots on goal and penalty corner routines in the early stages. South Africa showed composure before finding a way through themselves forcing Pamela Smithwick in goals into action.
Ireland were forced to ten men with just seven minutes to go when Emma Smyth was shown yellow but despite the pressure Ireland showed flair and determination creating goal scoring opportunities, which eventually paid dividends when a resulting penalty corner set up Cliodhna Sargent for her brace as she fired home her trade mark shot rattling the back board with just two minutes left on the clock.
Commenting after the match Coach Gene Muller said “This was a good start to our South African tour we preformed well and stuck to the task especially in defence. We have had many close matches against South Africa in the past so this win was very satisfying for the team.”
Final score Ireland 2-1 South Africa
Next match Friday 5pm (Irish) v South Africa
Starting XI: Pamela Smithwick (GK); Michelle Harvey; Cliodhna Sargent; Sinead McCarthy; Audrey O’Flynn; Emma Smyth; Emma Clarke; Shirley McCay; Lisa Jacob; Alex Speers; Sinead Connery
Reserves: Louisa Healy (GK); Miriam Crowley; Megan Frazer; Chloe Watkins; Lizzie Colvin
Ireland will host the FIH Olympic Qualifier 2012 in UCD, Dublin from the 10th – 18th March 2012. This is your time to get behind the Green Machine and support them all the way to the London 2012 Olympics. Tickets on sale now for more information go to www.hockey.ie or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 7163262