Ireland Clinch Bronze in Final Day of Electric Ireland Champions
HOCKEY: Finals Day Electric Ireland FIH Champions Challenge I
October 7th 2012 - UCD, Dublin
Ireland 2 (1) Emma Smyth op 17th minute; NiamhAtcheler 66m pc
Scotland 2 (1) Alison Bell op 5minutes; Samantha Judge op 39th minute
IRELAND WIN 4-3 on SHOOT OUT CLINCHING BRONZE IN DRAMATIC STYLE
Ireland played Scotland in the battle of the bronze medal match today in UCD in the final day of the Electric Ireland FIH Champions Challenge I clinching the medal position in dramatic style and a 4-3 win with a shootout.
Scotland opened the goal scoring early on in the match just 5 minutes in when Bunce picked out Bell in the circle who finished sharply to go 1-0 up. Ireland looked a bit nervy in the opening minutes as they played deep in their own half, Harvey was called into make a vital clearance to prevent the Scottish doubling their lead. But Small had a good chance to equalise in the 12th minute with a sharp turn and shot but this time it was not to be. A great effort by Emma Smyth paid dividends in the 17th minute when she smacked home from close range to bring things all square.
Ireland found their pace and began to show confidence just five minutes later Mullan got a cracking reverse stick shot away but an on form Gibson in goals kept the attacking effort out. Ireland had another chance in the 26th minute when they secured their first penalty corner of the day but Gibson saved very well clearing the danger long and the sides broke for half time one a piece.
Scotland didn't take long to make their presence felt as they applied immediate pressure attacking Ireland from the off when Judge was given the slightest bit of daylight to smack home a classy reverse leaving Gray in goals no chance to go 2-1 ahead. A minute later Ireland had the chance to level securing a penalty corner but Harvey's drag was well saved as was Connery's follow up effort. Ireland found their equaliser with just four minutes to spare when Atcheler converted off her sides fifth penalty corner to push the game into extra time.
Ireland came out full of intention in the opening half of extra time where golden goal applies, with excellent chances created by both Watkins and Mullan but a very fine performance by from the Scottish keeper kept the onslaught of Irish attacks at bay as the game pushed through to the second half of extra time. Both sides had chances including a short corner for Scotland in the dying moments but excellent keeping from Gray kept the attack at bay and the match pushed through into a shootout.
Ireland finally clinched the bronze medal position in the shootout 4-3 with Ireland's most capped player ever Nikki Symmons sealing the deal in the final shoot out to be taken.
Commenting after the game Dennis Pritchard "We started sluggishly and gradually brought ourselves into contention. Coming from behind twice and to dominate the second half and extra time is a fitting testament to the girls' physical and mental preparation. To finish three places above our tournament ranking is extremely satisfying and motivating for all involved."
Starting XI: Emma Gray; Michelle Harvey; Miriam Crowley; Alex Speers; Lisa Jacob; Sinead McCarthy; Aine Connery; Nikki Symmons; Chloe Watkins; Niamh Atcheler; Nicola Gray.
Reserves: Pamela Smithwick; Emma Smyth; Niamh Small; Brenda Flannery; Kathyrn Mullan; Anna O'Flanagan
Round up of results
Sunday 7th October Match Schedule
9am - 7/8 Play Off INDIA 4-0 WALES http://www.fih.ch/en/competitions-166-electric-ireland-hockey-champions-challenge/match-4178-ind-v-wal-7th-place-electric-ireland-hockey
11.30 - 5/6 Play Off SOUTH AFRICA 1-2 BELGIUM http://www.fih.ch/en/competitions-166-electric-ireland-hockey-champions-challenge/match-4179-rsa-v-bel-5th-place-electric-ireland-hockey
2.00 - 3/4 Play Off SCOTLAND 2-2 IRELAND win on shoot out 4-3
4.30 - FINAL AUSTRALIA V USA
For more go to http://www.fih.ch/en/competitions-166-electric-ireland-hockey-champions-challenge
Or go to http://www.hockey.ie/contentPage/157449/champions_challenge_i