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Wilson thrilled as Irish stage turnaround to reign in Spain

Positive: Ulster’s Zoe Wilson
Positive: Ulster’s Zoe Wilson

By John Flack

The Ireland women's hockey team staged a remarkable turnaround to beat Spain 2-0 on the Costa del Sol yesterday after falling to a 7-0 loss in the first of four games against their hosts just 48 hours earlier.

Goals from team captain Katie Mullan and Lena Tice in Benalmadena secured the win which squares the series at 1-1.

Ireland will now approach the remaining two matches, scheduled for tomorrow and Sunday, with renewed confidence as both teams continue their preparations for this summer's World Cup in London.

Spain are ranked 11th in the world, five places higher than the Irish, and had recently returned from a Test series in Australia.

Belfast Harlequins midfielder Zoe Wilson, one of six Ulster players on the Spanish trip, admitted that Ireland were a little ring rusty but was delighted with the response yesterday.

The Irish squad sat through a video review of the 7-0 defeat and clearly learned from what was a chastening experience.

Wilson said: "We went back to the hotel and reviewed ourselves, individually and collectively.

"It was going to be difficult in the first game as Spain are coming off the back of the series in Australia, whereas some of our squad haven't played an international since August's Europeans.

"But in the second game, we created a lot of really good goalscoring opportunities while being very compact in defence.

"We're on an upward curve after that shaky start and there's a real positive vibe in the camp."

Mullan gave Ireland the lead in the 29th minute when she slid in to deflect Gillian Pinder's cross home.

Tice sealed the win in the 45th minute when she scored from the penalty spot after Wilson's set-piece had been stopped by a Spanish foot on the line.

IRELAND: G O'Flanagan, H Matthews, L McGuire, L Tice, R Upton, Z Wilson, G Pinder, K Mullan (capt), D Duke, A Naughton, S Torrans. Subs: E Buckley, Y O'Byrne, S McCay, L Colvin, R Barry, N Evans, E Russell.

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