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Irish women facing survival bid after draw with Scotland

Ireland 0 Scotland 0

By John Flack

Ireland's chances of reaching the semi-finals at the EuroHockey Championship are all but over after they were held to a scoreless draw by Scotland in Amsterdam yesterday.

To have had a realistic opportunity of making the knock-out stages, Ireland needed England to beat Germany later in the day but the Olympic bronze medallists secured a surprise 1-0 win over the European champions.

Now, if England defeat Scotland, as expected, Graham Shaw's team will finish in the bottom-two in the group and be in the relegation shake-up, even if they were to beat Germany tomorrow (1.45pm UK time).

Ireland had the bulk of possession and chances against the lower-ranked Scots but, despite a few near misses, they were unable to find the net.

Ireland head coach Shaw said: "I thought we were dominant. When you look at the amount of circle penetrations we had and the opportunities we created."

"But in order to win games you need to put the ball in the goal. At times, we lacked composure and their keeper pulled off some good saves, but we just hadn't enough inside the final third".

Ireland had two early chances, both falling to Deirdre Duke but they were unable to beat Scottish keeper Amy Gibson.

At the other end, the Scots, who were in defensive mode for much of the game, came out of their shell and Kate Holmes forced Grace O'Flanagan into a decent stop.

In the 42nd minute, Roisin Upton's penalty-corner was blocked shortly after Lena Tice took a Scottish effort off the line.

Ireland had their best two chances in the final quarter, Shirley McCay's bullet at a set-piece being swatted away by a defender early on.

Then with five minutes left, Ireland captain Katie Mullan was unable to get a touch from a yard out after Hannah Matthews had volleyed the ball towards the net.

On Saturday, Ireland went down 4-1 to England in their opening match as they failed to replicate the heights they had reached in a 3-2 loss to the same opponents at the world cup qualifying tournament in South Africa a few weeks ago.

Tice's second-half penalty corner conversion reduced the margin to 2-1 but poor defending allowed England to nick a third through Sophie Bray within a minute before Alex Danson added number four late on.

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