Belfast Telegraph

Kimber's girls on Nations Cup final track in Singapore

By Richard Bullick

Northern Ireland continued their march towards Saturday's Nations Cup final with their third win in-a-row in Singapore.

Namibia's late withdrawal from the tournament has seen the sixth spot filled by a Singapore Invitational team featuring several useful Aussies and a Fijian international.

Only leading by five goals after a competitive first half, the girls in green hit their stride to win 50-29.

Julie Kimber made two changes to the starting seven from Monday's win over Singapore, with Michelle Drayne and vice-captain Niamh Cooper replacing Laura Mason and Neamh Woods.

The select side actually led 6-3 in the early stages, but undaunted Northern Ireland fought back to go into the first break 10-8 up.

It stayed tight in the second quarter with Northern Ireland extending their lead to 20-15 at half-time before pulling clear.

With world-class centre Caroline O'Hanlon pulling the strings, Northern Ireland's lethal long passes opened up the opposition.

The tournament favourites took the third quarter 13-6 before finishing with a flourish to win by the commanding margin of 21 goals.

Northern Ireland changed to a short passing game in the final quarter and created a steady supply of scoring chances for substitute shooter Jenna Bowman.

They meet Chinese Taipei today before concluding the round-robin stage with what could be the first of back-to-back games against Papua New Guinea. Having edged hosts Singapore on the opening day, PNG remained on course for a place in the final by beating Botswana 54-49.

Belfast Telegraph

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