The large and noisy home crowd was thoroughly entertained as host nation Ireland produced a superb performance to run out 2-1 winners against India. The Irish were well worth their win, which came courtesy of goals from Nicola Symmonds and rising teenage star Chloe Watkins.
The result is a remarkable achievement for an Ireland team that was on the receiving end of a 6-0 thrashing by India when the teams met in 2010. The Irish showed that they have come on leaps and bounds since in the last 12 months and have marked themselves as strong contenders to top Pool B.
Clearly enjoying the support of their passionate fans, Ireland started the game with intent and immediately put their opponents under great pressure. The Indians managed to defend four Irish penalty corner routines but were unable to stop a fifth when cricket international Nicola Symmonds showed her wonderful eye for a ball with a glorious volley at the left post.
India found some rhythm late in the half and began to create some chances of their own, including a penalty corner which brought a fine stick save from goalkeeper Emma Gray who was in fine form throughout the contest.
The second half saw India win another two penalty corners, but could not find a way past the resilient Irish defence.
Eventually, Ireland found a second goal when a fast flowing attack ripped through the India defence before 19 year old Chloe Watkins picked the ball up down the left. The hugely talented youngster somehow managed to score from a tight angle, surprising India keeper Yogita Bali with a shot at the near post when virtually everyone on the field was expecting her to pass to an Irish team-mate.
India pulled a goal back in the 59th minute when Jasjeet Kaur Handa picked up a rebound and slotted home to make the final eleven minutes of the game very tense. However, Ireland continued defended excellently to seal a memorable win over their opponents.
India v Ireland 1-2 (0-1)
IND 0-1 IRL – Nicola SYMMONDS 11m PC
IND 0-2 IRL – Chloe WATKINS 50m FG
IND 1-2 IRL – Jasjeet Kaur HANDA 59m FG
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