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South Africa Progress To Setanta Sports Trophy Final
16 Jun 2007 20:07
 
South Africa booked there place in the Women’s Setanta Sports Trophy with a 2-1 defeat of Scotland, whilst Ireland lost 3-1 to Germany and will play Scotland in a play-off for 3rd place.

Ireland started their game knowing that only a win would do against the reigning Olympic champions. And things nearly got off to the worst possible start from the hosts point of view when a turnover from the tip-off let Natascha Keller in and it was nearly 1-0 after just 15 seconds but for the pads of Mark Goode. Ireland’s shaky start continued, but the girls in green got their first clear-cut chance after ten minutes when Eimear Cregan picked out Cathy McKean in front of goal, but her shot was too weak and cleared.

Ireland continued to set up the pace and duly took the lead off the second of two successive penalty corners, captain Linda Caulfield striking into the far right hand corner off a sip left move.

Ireland continued to create space and opportunities, but Germany gradually forced their way back into the game and equalised from a penalty corner of their own on 22 minutes Muller’s shot bobbling up and volleyed home by Maike Stoeckel.

Ireland closed the half with two unsuccessful penalty corners of their own and the sides went into the halftime break level at one-all.

Ireland should have regained the lead three minutes into the second half, when a free hit from O’Brien was deflected by McDonough high and wide from close range. It was a chance the Irish would regret, as Germany took the lead in the 47th minute, Natascha Keller converting the rebound from a Fanny Rinne drag flick. And it was 3-1 three minutes later, Janine Beermann converting a far post deflection from Rinne.

Germany could have extended their lead three minutes later but for a superb double save from Goode. Ireland pressed for a way back into the match, with Tina Bachnamm yellow carded and Natascha Keller going off with wrist injury from a Cliodhna Sargent hit. Germany ran out worthy winners.

“I’m not happy with our performance in the second half,” said Ireland coach Gene Muller. “We lost the game there, not because we were outclassed, but simply because we could have played better. However, it is great preparation for the Eurohockey Nations Championship for us to play this quality team. Our improvement over the last eight months has been very good and the younger players are catching up very quickly.”

In the day’s earlier game, South Africa got the better of Scotland in a tightly fought affair. Scotland took the lead in the 40th minute with a Samantha Judge field goal. South Africa equalised eleven minutes later from a penalty corner from vice-captain Jen Wilson. And the South Africans found a late winner in the 65th minute from another penalty corner, this time from Sharne Bailey.

Source: Irish Hockey Association
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