The Ireland women’s hockey team booked their place in the Champions Challenge II tournament in Kazan, Russia yesterday.
Gene Muller’s girls scored a hard fought 1-0 victory over Malaysia to progress. They will now meet Belgium tomorrow with a place in the decider against either India or Ukraine.
Ireland secured their first real chance in the 17th minute winning the first penalty corner which went wide but a minute later they grabbed that all important goal.
This time they made no mistake when Nikki Symmons slipped left to Shirley McCay who shot wide of the right post for Lisa Jacob to deflect high into the net for her second goal of the tournament.
Despite the control Ireland displayed it did not go all their own way, Malaysia secured three penalty corners of their own but a strong Irish defence and Emma Gray in goals kept them out.
Ireland did not make things easy for themselves in the second half, giving away four soft penalty corners and again the defence pulled out all the stops and kept a clean sheet in tact.
Ireland rallied in the last quarter themselves winning four corners in a two minute spell but the comfort of a second goal evaded them.
Towards the end Ireland controlled possession and territory as the clock ticked down to ensure they progressed through to the semi finals.
Tomorrow: Semi final - Ireland v Belgium (3pm).