Ireland down SA women

2012-01-25 20:58

Randburg - The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team went down 2-1 to Ireland in the one-off Test match at Randburg Astro on Wednesday night.

The scores were level at 1-1 at half-time.

The hard-hitting Cliodhna Sargent nailed penalty-corner goals in the 19th and 70th minutes for Ireland’s first win over SA in four matches, while Jade Mayne scored following South Africa’s first corner in the 21st minute.

For South Africa, who will face Belgium in a one-off international at 19:00 here on Thursday, it was their first defeat in four matches.

SA captain Marsha Marescia’s girls in green and gold open their Tri-Nations campaign against Ireland at 14:00 on Saturday.

After just 20 seconds a Dirkie Chamberlain deflection off Marescia’s accurate free-hit brought a sharp save from goalkeeper Pamela Smithwick. In the 11th minute Ireland missed a great chance after a lapse in the SA defence.

Intelligent running into space and pinpoint passing saw Aine Connery, captain Alexandra Speers and Lisa Jacob combine beautifully at times and Ireland’s industry was eventually rewarded with Sargent’s goal from the match’s second penalty corner, which was only awarded after SA umpire Annelize Rostron and Irish colleague Liz Clifford had consulted (1-0).

SA hit back immediately when the pressured Irish defence conceded a PC and Kim Hubach’s accurate flick was popped in off the keeper’s pads by Mayne. SA tried the same slip-pass left of the castle with their second PC but this time it didn’t work.

Three minutes after the break Connery got in a crisp shot on the turn and four minutes later Audrey O’Flynn induced a stunning stick save from SA keeper Sanani Mangisa low to her right from Ireland’s third PC. Soon after, a marvellous run by Marescia set up Celia Evans but  her shot was blocked by Smithwick.

The action was intensely competitive with play transferring from one end of the pitch to the other in an instant and midway through the second half Kathleen Taylor worked some magic  up the right flank to earn SA’s third PC, Smithwick blocking a Lisa Deetlefs effort.

Ireland were forced to defend desperately at times as SA went in search of the lead but it was much the same at the other end with the odd goalmouth melee requiring scrambled defence, but with 43 seconds left Ireland’s industry paid off when Sargent smashed home her team’s fourth PC for the 2-1 victory.