Green Army All Square In Four Game Series Against Chile
A new look Irish Women’s Hockey team, with four debutants, were held to a goalless draw in the opening game of their four-game series in Chile on Saturday.
Twins Serena Barr and Bethany Barr, made their first senior appearances for the Green Army alongside two other debutants Sarah Hawkshaw and 17-year old midfielder Amy Elliott who came off the bench in the fourth minute.
Ireland who made history last year becoming the first ever Irish team to reach a World Cup final, are preparing for yet another significant year as they bid for Olympic qualification for the first time.
A new year brings new objectives for this ambitious side as they are using this tour as a foundation for a busy 2019. In June, Ireland compete at the Hockey Series Finals where the top two sides will advance to a head-to-head Olympic qualifier in September. In between all of this, Ireland also compete at the European Championships in August.
Coach Graham Shaw, who won the RTE Coach of the Year for 2018, has been putting the squad through their paces with double sessions every day, in the lead up to Saturday’s opening game against Chile.
The 26-player squad named on tour in Chile, includes 16 of the World Cup Silver medalists. It was however a fresh-faced Ireland team who took on Chile in Santiago on Saturday evening. Graham Shaw opted for a blend of youth and experience as Sarah Hawkshaw, Amy Elliott and twin sisters Serena and Bethany Barr were awarded their first caps.
Ireland began the first half on the front foot with all four debutants impressing. Aisling Naughton’s pace and skill created an opening for Elliott who saw her shot blocked before Serena Barr was unlucky not to divert the deflection in.
The Green Army continued to up the pressure and Roisin Upton saw her penalty corner drag flick fly just wide before the end of the third quarter. Gemma Frazer also went close late on but couldn’t quite convert. In the end however both sides couldn’t find a breakthrough as the game ended all square.
Ireland team: S Barr, K Mullan (capt), E Beatty, G Pinder, R Upton, A McFerran, S Hawkshaw, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, B Barr, G Frazer. Subs: E Buckley, A Naughton, Y O’Byrne, A Elliott, E Tice, C Watkins, N Daly
4 new caps to begin 2019 💚— Green Army (@IreWomenHockey) January 12, 2019
Massive congrats to Amy Elliott, Serena Barr, Bethany Barr & Sarah Hawkshaw on a huge honour putting on the green jersey for the first time tonight again Chile tonight at 20.00 local time #GreenArmy #ChaseIt #RoadToTokyo ☘️👒🏑 pic.twitter.com/RP7X0RPFA8
On Sunday evening, Ireland played their second game in as many days as they took on Chile at the Prince of Wales hockey club. Ireland were held to another hard-fought draw against Chile after coming back from a goal down to draw 2-2.
Ireland coach Graham Shaw chose to rest some of the World Cup silver-medallists who had started the opening game on Saturday, as he made five changes to the starting line-up.
Sarah Hawkshaw scored her first ever goal for the senior team, and Ireland’s equalizer, after good work from Sarah Torrans. Lena Tice then gave the Green Army the lead in the 54th minute after Deirdre Duke’s penalty-corner stopped on the line.
Chile however scored a late equalizer late on to make it 2-2, after Krimerman found the net after Ireland failed to convert their late chances to put the game to bed.
Ireland: E Buckley, K Mullan, E Beatty, C Watkins, H Matthews, S Hawkshaw, Z Wilson, D Duke, A Meeke, B Barr, G Frazer Subs: Y O’Byrne, S Barr, N Evans, R Maguire, S Torrans, L Tice
The final two games take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Ayeisha McFerran has been nominated in the Goalkeeper category for the International Federation Hockey All Star Awards whilst defender Lena Tice has been nominated in the Rising All Star category. Voting can be cast here.