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Grundie joy as McCay nets in impressive Irish warm-up victory

 

Goal scorer: Shirley McCay hit the target for Ireland
Goal scorer: Shirley McCay hit the target for Ireland

By John Flack

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.

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