England win Masters home nations with Ireland second overall
In the Over 40s section Ireland were playing England for the title as both teams entered the match on full points, though England had a better goal difference. In an evenly balanced game, England ran out 4-1 winners by virtue of their clinical finishing. Former England and GB forward Sally Gibson (who played for England in the World Cup hosted in Dublin in 1994) scored all four of England's goals and was the stand out player of the O40s competition. Ireland never gave up and got a well deserved late goal. Noreen Dockery came off the bench and, making a strong supporting run from defence, connected with a baseline pull back from Julie Bell, to deflect the ball into the net. In the earlier game Scotland beat Wales 4-1 so that the final placings were: 1st England (9pts); 2nd Ireland (6pts); 3rd Scotland (3pts); 4th Wales (0pts). Gillian Garrett was awarded the Irish Over 40s player of the tournament.
In the Over 45s group Ireland took on winners England looking for a good performance. Despite Ireland having the better of the opening exchanges they conceded from a deflected own goal 6 minutes into the game. Ireland kept searching for the equaliser but half way through the second half England were awarded a disputed penalty stroke which they duly converted. Ireland were unable to convert their chances and the final result was 2-0 to England. In the other game in this group Wales beat Scotland 1-0. Final placings for the O45s were: 1st England (9pts); 2nd Wales (4pts); 3rd Ireland (2pts); 4th Scotland (1pt). Tracey Skoyles was awarded the Irish O45s player of the tournament.
In an exciting last day of the Over 50/55s tournament England Over 55s beat England O50s 1-0 in the first match. This meant that if Scotland beat Wales in the second match they could potentially win the tournament but Wales held them to a 2-2 draw. Ireland Over 50s played England Over 55s in the third match - a win for England Over 55s would make them outright winners, while a win for Ireland would put them in contention (if Wales took points off England Over 50s in the last match). Ireland controlled much of the first half and were rewarded when Cathy Walsh scored from a penalty corner strike. England 55s attacked right from the push back and less than a minute later were on level terms. They increased their lead from a penalty corner 2 minutes later, just before half time. After the restart Ireland were awarded a penalty stroke following an illegal stop at a penalty corner, which Maura O'Neill converted to level things up again. Both teams pushed for the winning goal, Ireland having the better of the exchanges as England Over 55s tired in their second match of the day. Ireland got the eventual winner 4 minutes from time when Dee Wallace scored from a penalty corner, tapping in at the back post following good work by Siobhan Forde. In the last game of the day England Over 50s beat Wales Over 50s 5-0 to win the Over 50/55s tournament on goal difference. The final placings were: 1st England O50s (7pts, +8); 2nd Ireland O50s (7pts, +2); 3rd Scotland (6pts, +2); 4th England O55s (6pts, -1); 5th Wales (1pt). Orla Galvin was the Irish O50s player of the tournament. Tara Browne was awarded the Irish Masters (all age groups) Goalkeeper of the Tournament. The next event for Irish Women's Masters is the European Open (men and women) taking place in Lisnagarvey Hockey Club from 13th to 17th August 2013.
(words by Helen Johnston)