Spain won the three days women’s series against Ireland. The Spanish team won match two 4-0 and was just a little stronger in the third match (2-1). Earlier, Spain defeated Ireland 4-0.
In the third match of the series, Spain true to form made no mistake in finishing with their first shot at goal in the fifth minute, when Montse Cruz made a great break up the right to cut into the circle for her first shot and one nil lead. The remainder of the half ensued with Ireland dominating possession and territory with much of the build up coming from great play by Sargent at the back. Ireland had their first penalty corner in the ninth minute but Symmon's efforts were blocked and cleared. Three minutes later Ireland were lining up once more for the set piece and Jacob's was unlucky not to bury the rebound to level the sides.
Ireland started the second half in the same mood they closed out the first with confidence and only five minutes in Ireland were setting up for another penalty corner but the Irish efforts were dealt ably with by an excellent Spanish keeper who has been on fire throughout the series. Ireland's persistence finally paid dividends in the 44th when Captain Cregan plucked the ball off the back line to cut back into mid circle and fire home across the face of the goal to bury her shot leaving the otherwise faultless keeper with no chance.
From the restart Spain won a penalty corner, their only of the game compared to the thirteen they secured yesterday, but Ireland's defence stood strong. Spain's winner came in the 47th minute when a free in led to a superb deflection from Montse Cruz, whose effort sailed high into the net. Ireland continued to hunt for the equaliser with opportunities through penalty corners and break away play but clinical finishing evaded them and Spain secured victory once again.
Ireland will no doubt be pleased with a much improved performance, commenting after the match Coach Muller said 'We deserved better than a 2-1 loss, we played our best match today. A clear focus needs to now be applied to both circles, we need to be more clinical as in the last two matches we had the same number of circle entries as Spain.'
Spain – Ireland 2-1 (1-0)
Goals Spain: Montse Cruz x 2 5m; 47m
Goal Ireland: Eimear Cregan 44m
In match two, the game opened with Ireland looking a lot stronger than they had the previous day, McCay and Cregan in particular controlling the game. But in a carbon copy fashion to match one, Spain secured their first goal on the 9th minute with a Raquel Huertas effort.
The remainder of the half ensued in an even fashion, both sides with chances and both with penalty corner opportunities which is where Spain's second goal came from in the 32nd minute when the initial strike was saved by Healy in goals but Gloria Comerna was there to pounce on the rebound to give her side the 2-0 lead at half time.
Ireland found themselves another goal down just one minute into the second half when Spain were awarded a stroke which Nuria Camon converted for her sides third. Ireland were back with a chance sixty seconds later but Symmons drag flew high of the bar. The game continued at high pace with end to end action and again it was Spain who capatilised on their chances when Pilar Sanchez scored her penalty corner deflection.
Ireland continued to create chances for the remainder of the game but the ability to convert and finish is what separated these two sides today in the high temperatures at Valencia.
Spain – Ireland 4-0 (2-0)
Goals: Spain: Raquel Huertas 9m; Gloria Comerna 32m; Nuria Camon 36m; Pilar Sanchez 39m
Source: Irish Hockey Association
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