Belfast Telegraph

Passmore hails his U21s as focus turns to Euros

 

Ireland's Under-21 women's team redeemed themselves after an opening defeat to Belgium on Tuesday in Dublin when the final match of the series ended in a scoreless draw yesterday. (stock photo)
Ireland's Under-21 women's team redeemed themselves after an opening defeat to Belgium on Tuesday in Dublin when the final match of the series ended in a scoreless draw yesterday. (stock photo)

By John Flack

Ireland's Under-21 women's team redeemed themselves after an opening defeat to Belgium on Tuesday in Dublin when the final match of the series ended in a scoreless draw yesterday.

The young Irish players, who, like their opponents, were putting the final touches to their preparations for this month's European Junior Championships in Valencia, had lost the first game 5-0 but showed vast improvement in the rematch.

In fact, they shaded possession and, with a more clinical touch in the shooting circle, could have secured a morale-boosting victory.

Hannah McLoughlin, Yasmin Pratt and Ellen Curran all went close in the first half when Ireland had the Belgians on the back foot.

The hosts forced the first penalty corner of the game shortly after the restart and then Ireland keeper Liz Murphy twice did well to keep the visitors at bay from a couple more set-pieces.

Amy Elliott and McLaughlin had late chances to win the game, but Ireland head coach Dave Passmore was delighted with the performance and the way his team responded to the opening defeat.

He said: "These were two great final preparation games for us before we go to Valencia.

"The first one handed us a timely and important reminder for the key to international hockey from watching the senior team and that's to defend well.

"We righted those wrongs in the second game and probably should have won it based on the chances created and the fact that the shot and corner count was in our favour."

Passmore will name his European squad today, with up to five Ulster players expected to be included, although Queen's University defender Erin Getty is a slight doubt due to an ankle injury.

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