Matthew’s plays her part in Irish victory

Loreto Hockey Club’s Hannah Matthew’s played her part as Ireland’s Women’s Hockey team saw off the USA 3-1 at the Women’s Hockey World Cup in London.

Her Rathfarnham clubmates Nicci Daly and Alison Meeve were on the Irish substitutes bench.

Graham Shaw best DSC 31012

Their opponents are ranked 7th in the world, 9 places ahead of the girls in Green who lie in 16th, and naturally the commentators had the Yanks red-hot favourites to win.

But within ten minutes of the start, they were forced to rip up their notes as Firhouse man Graham Shaw’s side shocked their opponents with only 5 minutes on the clock, as Deirdre Duke rounded goalkeeper Jackie Briggs to slot home the opening goal.

As if their much fancied opponents were not shell-shocked enough, just seven minutes later Gillian Pinder won the first Penalty Corner of the match, and the girls in green took full advantage, with Shirley McCay slamming the ball home with one of her trademark sweeps from the top of the circle.

The USA managed to grab a goal back on the 15th minute, as Margoux Pauilo made their crucial Penalty Corner count to make it 2-1.

Towards the end of the first-half, Ireland could have been 3-1 up, but Katie Mullan’s shot was superbly saved by Briggs.

Soon after Ashley Hoffman nearly made it 2-2. But her well-taken shot ricocheted off the crossbar and a Melissa Gonzales rebound was well saved by goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran.

Shaw’s side found themselves two in the clear on 41 minutes when Duke again got the better of Briggs to make it 3-1.

Brilliant defending

Two more Penalty Corners from the USA came to nothing as they were thwarted on both occasions by brilliant defending, as the Irish very much defied the odds to make a winning start to their World Cup Campaign.

Speaking after the match, Head Coach Shaw remarked “USA are one of the best pressing teams in the world and they can put you on the back foot with their physicality, but I thought we were magnificent and I’m incredibly proud of the group.”

Ireland’s next opponents are India, whom they play on Thursday at 2pm.

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