Mixed emotions for McCay as she sets caps record
Shirley McCay set a new milestone at Stormont yesterday when she made her 286th international appearance but she was unable to make it a double celebration as Ireland fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Scotland.
The Pegasus defender has been playing leapfrog with Banbridge star Eugene Magee recently and yesterday moved one ahead to become her country's most-capped player.
Ireland were using the three-match series - in which they had a 2-0 lead going into the game - to prepare for the upcoming European Championship and Olympic qualifiers.
But McCay admitted afterwards that there is room for improvement, despite the fact Ireland were without World Cup silver medal winning trio Megan Frazer, Chloe Watkins and Lizzie Colvin for one reason or another.
McCay said: "We're disappointed and I think it's a huge lesson learned when you create multiple chances and don't take them and we were a bit loose at the back for their two goals.
"We are in a new phase with a new head coach in Sean Dancer but we need to learn our lessons quickly, learn to take those opportunities and tighten up in defence and put teams to bed."
The Scots, coached by former Coleraine, Ulster Under 21 and South Africa striker Jen Wilson, were on the back foot for most of the game.
But they were more clinical in the circle, going 2-0 up with a goal in each half before Anna O'Flanagan's late consolation strike.
The Scots went ahead in the 22nd minute from their first set-piece as Lorna Cruikshank's shot found the net.
Five minutes later, Katie Mullan's pass set up O'Flanagan but she fired wide and the chance was missed.
Three minutes after the break, Roisin Upton set up Ali Meeke, who shot wide when she should at least have hit the target.
Four minutes later, Upton got in a shot from a set-piece but Scottish goalkeeper Amy Gibson got down well to save at full stretch and then Katie Mullan and O'Flanagan missed further opportunities.
With three minutes left, Sarah Jamieson fired home on her backhand to double the Scots' advantage before O'Flanagan netted a penalty corner rebound with 74 seconds remaining on the clock but it was too little, too late.
Meanwhile, Ireland's Under 21 women need to beat Spain at the European Junior Championship in Valencia tonight (7pm) if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the top flight.
Ireland's U21 men, in contrast, made it two wins from two in their second-tier Euro event yesterday when they crushed their Czech Republic hosts 8-0.
Ulstermen Callum Robson and Matthew Crookshanks along with Alex Flynn, Conor Empey (2), Mark Samuel, Ben Johnston and Guy Sarratt got the goals.