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Ireland make it three out of three in women's Olympic qualifier
Ireland (0) 5
(O'Flynn 2, Smyth 2, Sargent)
Mexico (0) 0
The Electric Ireland Irish women's hockey team made it three wins from three as they defeated Mexico by 5-0 at the Athlon Car Lease FIH Road to London Olympic qualifer in Belgium.
Ireland took a long time to break down the Mexican defence as it was scoreless at half time but patience was the key and in the end scored 5 second half goals to leave Ireland top of the pool after three games.
For the latest from the tournament see http://www.fih.ch/en/competitions-151-athlon-car-lease-fih-road-to-london-women
The first half was totally dominated by Ireland with all the territory and winning 4 penalty corners but the Mexican keeper was having a great day in goal keeping out all Irish attacks. Ireland started the second half with more speed and aggression and Aine Connery almost gave Ireland the lead with a great deflection but again the Mexican Keeper Castillo pulled off a top class save. The 1st goal from Ireland came from their 5th PC in the 44 minute courtesy of another Audrey O Flynn drag flick her 4th of the Tournament. Ireland continued to dominate but could not find a way through. In the 59th minute Correa got her marching orders when she received a ten minute Yellow card for a heavy challenge on Emma Clarke and at the same time the Mexicans substituted their keeper. In the remaining 11 minutes Ireland scored four goals – the first of them in the 60th minute when Nici Daly earned a free just outside the circle and after a goal mouth scramble Emma Smyth reversed into the net from 6 yards to give Ireland breathing space and a two Goal Lead. In the 64th minute after good work by Speers earning Ireland a penalty corner O’Flynn made it 3 when her initial drag was saved but she buried the rebound. Smyth got her second from a second phase penalty corner two minutes later and in the final minute of the game Cliodhna Sargent made it 5-0 from open play.
Nicola Symmons became the most capped Irish player of all time winning her 172nd cap for her country – the record had previously been held by Eimear Cregan.
After the game Irish Coach Gene Muller said "it was generally a frustrating match for us we found it hard to create goal scoring chances in the 1st half but we were more fluid and clinical in the second half. There are only 3 teams left that can win the Tournament and our next two games against Spain are critically important”
The game today at 5pm between Spain and Belgium will be interesting viewing for the Irish Girls. They have a rest day tomorrow- before they play the top seedsSpain on Thursday at 3.30 (Irish Time)
Starting XI: Pamela Smithwick, Nicola Symmons, Cliodhna Sargent, Sinead McCarthy, Audrey O Flynn, Emma Smyth, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke, Alex Speers, Aine Connery, Nicola Evans.
Subs: Michelle Harvey, Shirley McCay, Nicola Daly, Chloe Watkins, Lisa Jacob.
Non Playing: Emma Gray, Miriam Crowley