Ireland’s Senior Women’s hockey team and Canada played out an eight goal thriller in UCD this evening to round off the series in the 3rd game following a win apiece for both sides on Saturday & Sunday respectively.
A quiet start to the game saw neither side really dominate the game until the game finally exploded into life as the ball found its way to Anna O’Flanagan who dinked the ball over the onrushing Williams in the Canadian goal to give Ireland a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute.
Canada stormed back quickly and two goals in two minutes, the first from Haughn from a penalty corner followed quickly by yet another penalty corner strike from Johansen gave the Canadians a 2-1 lead with 5 minutes to go before the break. The first half scoring wasn’t finished there though as O’Flanagan once again found the goal to pull Ireland level following good work from Alex Speers to rob the ball in midfield before feeding Lisa Jacob who set up O’Flanagan to finish. Canada once again staged a quick comeback and edged themselves in front again right on the stroke of half time as Gillis finished easily following ineffective ball retention from the Green Army. The sides headed for the break with the score at 3-2.
Canada started the brighter of the two sides directly after the break and another well executed drag flick from Johansen took a heavy deflection and nestled high in the net. The goal saw the visitors put some real daylight between the teams with a two goal advantage in the 39th minute. As we’d seen already this week with the Ireland Men’s team fantastic comeback performance vs France in Rotterdam, Irish Hockey sides are not the type to lie down when faced with a challenge and the Green Army certainly matched their male counterparts in desire and effort to get back into the game tonight. The 3rd goal finally came with 7 minutes left to play and Ireland had Nikki Symmons, earning her 201st cap, to thank as she diverted the ball past Williams in the Canadian goal to breathe life into Ireland’s challenge again.
But it was Anna O’Flanagan who was to be the heroine tonight as she grabbed a dramatic equaliser and her hat-trick, diverting the ball home from a penalty corner awarded right on the final hooter. It was no more than Ireland deserved overall and a fitting end to what has been a competitive series vs. Canada.
Speaking after the game, Electric Ireland Senior International Coach, Darren Smith said “I thought Canada were pretty well organised and were able to put pressure on us at the back and deserved their lead heading into the second hand. To their credit, our girls hung in there and played some good hockey in the final part of the match. They were positive, passed the ball and attacked their circle relatively well. It’s a good way to finish and it was certainly an entertaining game for the spectators tonight”