2 goals in the space of 3 minutes in the final quarter took some of the shine off a positive Irish performance against the Olympic bronze medallists.
The opening quarter of the fixture saw the Green Army soaking up a lot of pressure from the world number 7 side. Stalwart Shirley McCay dealt with waves of German attacks entering the circle but very few shots or tangible chances resulted. Lena Tice and Yvonne O’Byrne were also called upon to be in top form as the Germans applied high pressure on the backline, rarely giving them an inch from which to formulate their own attack. Discipline appeared at the core of the Green Army’s play with only 1 penalty corner resulting from a strong quarter by the hosts. Nicci Daly had the chance of the quarter for the Irish as the clock wound down but her shot zipped just wide.
Katie Mullan, captaining the side and fresh from Irish Senior Cup and EYHL title wins with UCD, led by example in the press, and consistently put the German side under pressure and forcing errors. The Green Army appeared to be fast growing into the game following the initial barrage from their hosts and Gillian Pinder was the first to draw a fine save from Julia Ciupka in the German goal. Germany earned their second PC of the game moments before the half time whistle and following a goal-mouth scramble the danger was eventually cleared to see the score remain 0-0 at the break.
Germany began the second half as they had started the first with an onslaught on the Irish circle but McCay and Hannah Matthews were alert to the shots and crash-balls in. The goal that Germany had been pushing for came in the 39th minute courtesy of Naomi Heyn, scrappy play around the goal saw the ball fall to Heyn who scored on her reverse. Pinder and Deirdre Duke linked up cleverly in the German circle to earn a PC towards the end of the third quarter but the chance yielded no return as Germany cleared the corner and quickly countered.
Pinder was again causing the German defence trouble with her gliding runs and her pass to Nikki Evans saw the final shot skim past the post. Grace O’Flanagan was on hand to make several good saves throughout the game but there was little she could do about Camille Nobis’ powerful PC strike to make it 2-0 in the 53rd minute. Erin Getty, earning her first senior cap, didn’t look out of place against the Olympic bronze medallists with her weaving runs through midfield. The victory was sealed for Germany when Laura Keibel scored with 3 minutes left on the clock to round out the 3-0 score line.
Starting Line Up: G O’Flanagan (GK), Evans, Mullan (Captain), McCay, Tice, Pinder, Colvin, Daly, Matthews, Wilson, Duke
Subs: Buckley (GK), O’Byrne, Beatty, Upton, Getty, Russell, Meeke
Germany 3 vs 0 Ireland. 12/4/17 18:00 in Dusseldorfer Hockey Club
Germany vs Ireland. 13/4/17 15:30 in Dusseldorfer Hockey Club