Hockey: Ireland too strong for Scotland

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In THE last year Scotland women had a good record against Ireland, a side five places above them in the world rankings, but yesterday at Newtownabbey it was the Irish who stole the show with an emphatic 4-1 victory.

This was not a good omen for Scotland head coach Gordon Shepherd as he prepares his side for the European Nations Championships in Belgium next month.

The Irish only took four minutes to assert their dominance when Alex Speers fired the ball past goalkeeper Nicki Cochrane. The Scots had a chance to get back on to level terms when Catriona Ralph’s effort from a penalty corner was saved.

But the home side went further ahead when Speers again found the net from a rebound.

Scotland finally got back into the contest when Holly Cram
rifled the ball into the circle and it deflected off the stick of an Irish defender high into the net.

But Irish restored their two-goal lead when Chloe Watkins lifted the ball past Cochrane in the second half, and Dierdre Duke sealed the result with a deft deflection.

The Scots kept going to the end and chances fell to Cram, Nikki Lloyd, Aileen Davis but there was no way through the Irish defence.

The second encounter with Ireland takes place tomorrow.