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Katie the heroine again as Ireland net win over Korea

 

By John Flack

Ulster players Shirley McCay and team captain Katie Mullan were on the mark as Ireland defeated Korea 2-1 to round off their Four Nations campaign in style in Berlin yesterday to finish runners-up to their hosts.

It was Ireland's second win over a top-10 nation in the three games, with a 5-2 defeat by China the only blemish, following a first-ever victory over Germany.

On that historic occasion, Mullan, now playing with UCD, scored the winner with a sublime backhand effort and she repeated the feat with a carbon-copy yesterday as Ireland, ranked 15th, overcame the world number eight side with a surprising degree of comfort.

The Koreans posed little threat in the final quarter of the game after Coleraine woman Mullan hit what proved to be the decisive goal 13 minutes into the second-half.

National coach Graham Shaw said: "We controlled the phases a lot better today than we did against China and it's very pleasing to see the areas that we discussed being implemented so we're happy with the performance and the result."

Shaw now has the difficult task of omitting two of the players who travelled to Germany for next month's World League 3 trip to Johannesburg which doubles as a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup.

In yesterday's game, after an evenly-contested first-half with very few chances, McCay broke the deadlock in the 35th minute when she volleyed the ball home from a penalty-corner after the initial move had broken down.

Anna O'Flanagan missed a gilt-edged chance to make it 2-0 shortly afterwards and Seul Ki Cheow took advantage when she sent a set-piece high into the net for equaliser in the 37th minute.

Six minutes later, Deirdre Duke's long pass found Mullan in the clear and she steadied herself before hammering the ball low into the net for a glorious winner.

Meanwhile, second-half goals from Michelle Barry and Hannah McLoughlin gave the Ireland Under 21s a series-winning 2-0 victory over Scotland at the Dub yesterday.

Ulster's under-age teams were also in action against Scotland, the U18s drawing 0-0 yesterday as their series at Jordanstown finished all-square while the U16s fell to a third defeat, losing 4-3, despite a fine hat-trick from Lurgan's Lydia McNeill.

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