Grundie joy as McCay nets in impressive Irish warm-up victory
Ulster's Shirley McCay scored a rare goal from open play as Ireland's women continued the build-up to their Olympic qualifying bid with a comfortable 4-1 win over India's Under-21s at Serpentine Avenue yesterday evening.
The country's most-capped female sports star struck in the second half, scoring one of Ireland's three goals after the break, having been moved into a more advanced role than usual as interim head coach Gareth Grundie used the game to experiment.
Former Ards boss Grundie felt the game was a useful exercise as the national team prepares for the first stage of the Olympic qualifying process, which gets under way with a game against Malaysia in Banbridge on Saturday week.
He said: "It was good to get a game against Asian opposition as they employ a different style and are a little more direct, so we expect a similar test against Malaysia."
Chloe Watkins broke the deadlock after seven minutes when she finished off a flowing move with a tap-in at the far post.
India equalised against the run of play shortly before half-time when Sharmila Dev beat Ayeisha McFerran.
Anna O'Flanagan made it 2-1 with a deflected effort and then McCay added No.3.
O'Flanagan wrapped things up with her second and Ireland's fourth from a penalty corner near the end.
Meanwhile, Ireland's Under-21s continued the build-up to this weekend's Four Nations tournament in Dublin with a win and a draw against their Canadian counterparts.
Queen's striker Jessica McMaster hit two of the goals in a 3-0 opening victory with Michelle Carey also on target.
In the second game, Siofra Murdock grabbed a late equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw.
India and Scotland will also be taking part in the quadrangular tournament as Ireland prepare for the European Junior Championship in Valencia in July.