Ireland girls clinch series whitewash in real style
Ireland 4 Scotland 0
The Ireland women's hockey team completed a clean sweep of victories over Scotland yesterday, a comprehensive 4-0 win at Alexandra College in Dublin wrapping up a 3-0 series success. But coach Darren Smith won't read too much into the overall outcome as the Scots were parading five new caps and are currently in a transitional period.
However, the New Zealander will be happy that his side have now made it five wins on the bounce following impressive 2-0 and 1-0 victories over Belgium in Brussels three weeks ago.
Scotland are just below Ireland in the world rankings but the girls in green have had problems with their Celtic neighbours in the recent past.
A 3-1 defeat at the last European Championships in Belgium, less than two years ago, relegated Ireland to the second tier of the competition for the first time.
"Scotland are a good team so it was a great opportunity to play against a high-quality outfit," said Smith.
"These three games were hugely beneficial, giving everyone in the national squad a run as well as giving us another three quality test matches as we continue our preparation for World League 2 taking place in Ireland next March."
Ireland, who had Pegasus goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran making her first start of the series, dominated the match throughout.
UCD's Deirdre Duke opened the scoring with a tap-in after being set up by Nicci Daly and Ulster's Megan Frazer.
Just before half-time, Aine Connery pounced on a deflection to make it 2-0 to the hosts.
Ireland continued to dominate and Connery got a touch to a great right-wing cross to make it 3-0 in the third quarter
In the final period, the hosts completed an impressive win when Anna O'Flanagan scored from a rebound after Emma Smyth's initial effort had been saved.