Ireland 1-2 USA - Ireland in bronze battle against Scotland
Day 5: Electric Ireland FIH Champions Challenge I
Saturday 6th October 2012
Ireland 1 (1) Lisa Jacob pc 3minutes;
USA 2 (0) Kathleen O'Donnell 37th op; Lauren Pfeiffer pc 58minute
Ireland opened their semi-final of the Electric Ireland FIH Champions Challenge I with a dream start and goal in the third minute when Lisa Jacob deflected in at the right post from O ‘Flynn's drag flick to make it 1-0. But in a fast paced, exciting game it wasn't long until the USA got a great chance to equalise in the 11th minute with a penalty corner chance but O'Donnell just missed the touch in.
Ireland had to mop up pressure in the form of five further USA penalty corners but a solid looking Gray in goals flanked by a strong defence denied the States set piece routines. Ireland had a superb chance after the fifth US penalty corner with a fast paced counter but Crowley on the ball just couldn't get the angle and her effort was met with the side net and Ireland closed out the half with their 1-0 intact.
The USA came out all guns blazing and made their presence felt in the 37th minute when they equalised thanks to Kathleen O'Donnell's goal from open play. Gray in goals was back in action three minutes later smothering an effort from Taylor to keep all things square. Ireland were back in attacking mode just four minutes later when O'Flanagan secured Ireland another penalty corner but the ensuing attack led to a free out for obstruction by the girls in green.
Ireland continued to make chances with some great interlinking play down the right, Connery, Watkins and Smyth showing some great flair but the finishing touch evaded the girls. The USA continued to secure penalty corners and Gray in goals showed fine form in keeping the set pieces out. But eventually the USA scored when Pfeiffer converted America's tenth penalty corner and pushed into the lead for the first time in the 58th minute.
With time running out Ireland dug deep looking to equalise including a penalty corner opportunity in the 65th minute but with the injection misplaced the set piece went off plan and McCarthy's strike was defended and cleared and the game closed out 2-1 to the USA meaning they will face Australia in tomorrow's final, while Ireland will play for the bronze medal against Scotland at 2pm.
Commenting after the game Coach Dennis Pritchard said "When we played well, it was an even game, however at crucial times their experienced players controlled the midfield areas. We needed to get back into contention but failed to maintain possession for long enough spells to do so, at times we were too technically loose."
Starting XI: Emma Gray GK; Michelle Harvey; Miriam Crowley; Emma Smyth; Alex Speers; Lisa Jacob; Sinead McCarthy; Nikki Symmons; Audrey O'Flynn; Niamh Atcheler; Anna O'Flanagan Reserves: Pamela Smithwick; Niamh Small; Aine Connery; Brenda Flanenry; Chloe Watkins; Kathyrn Mullan; Nicola Gray
Semi Final 1
Australia 3 (0) - 0 (0) Scotland match report: http://www.fih.ch/en/news-3956-australia-books-its-spot-in-the-cc1-final
5/8 Play Off
South Africa 3-2 (GG) India match report http://www.fih.ch/en/news-3956-lategan-south-africa-s-golden-girl
Belgium 8-0 Wales match report http://www.fih.ch/en/news-3956-belgium-and-south-africa-to-play-for-fifth
Sunday 7th October Match Schedule
9am - 7/8 Play Off INDIA V WALES
11.30 - 5/6 Play Off SOUTH AFRICA v BELGIUM
2.00 - 3/4 Play Off SCOTLAND v IRELAND
4.30 - FINAL AUSTRALIA v USA