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Shoot-out star McFerran

By John Flack

Ayeisha McFerran further underlined her reputation as one of the best goalkeepers in the world at penalty shoot-outs as Ireland defied the odds and rankings to finish fifth in the Hawke's Bay tournament in New Zealand yesterday.

The Pegasus player, currently playing her hockey in the United States, saved two penalties in a dramatic 4-3 victory over India after a 1-1 draw in the regulation 60 minutes.

On Saturday, McFerran had a shut-out in the ice hockey style one-on-ones as Ireland beat Korea 1-0 on penalties after coming from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with the world number nine nation.

Yesterday's win over India was their third victory in the tournament over a higher-ranked country following their 4-0 success over the same opponent in the group stages.

Unlike Ireland, India and Korea are heading to Rio for the Olympics and there was a measure of redemption and irony about events over the weekend.

China had beaten Ireland in a penalty shoot-out to deny them a place in Rio last June when McFerran again performed heroics only to be let down by her strikers.

Deirdre Duke deflected home the opening goal in the 19th minute but the Indians levelled seven minutes later through Namita Toppo and then McFerran went on to take centre-stage in the subsequent shoot-out.

Meanwhile, Ards secured their place in the EY Irish Hockey League next season after Chloe Brown's goal gave them a 1-0 win over Railway Union in Dublin on Saturday meaning that UCC face a relegation play-off.

Results: Sunday: Hawke's Bay Cup: final: New Zealand 3 Japan 2; 3rd-4th place play-off: Australia 3 China 1; 5th-6th: Ireland 1 (D Duke) India 1 (Ireland won 4-3 on pens); 7th-8th: Korea 3 Canada 1.

Saturday: Ireland 3 (N Carroll, C Watkins, L Tice ) Korea 3 (Ireland won 1-0 on pens); EY IHL: Railway Union 0 Ards 1 (C Brown); President's Cup: quarter-finals: Belfast Harlequins 3 (C Weir, L Geddes 2) Lurgan 0; Dungannon 1 (J Winslow) Lisnagarvey 2 (S McCullough, L Johnston); Queen's 5 (J Allison, E Hood, R McMillan, J Orr, J Kee) Ballymoney 3 (R Minahan, N Parke, K Gawn); Senior One: Cookstown 1 (R Stewart) Victorians 2 (E McAteer, E Conlin); McConnell Shield semi-finals: Queen's II 2 Lurgan II 1; Omagh 2 Belfast Harlequins 1 (aet).

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