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Electric Ireland women left to rue missed chances

The game played in fine conditions at Mossley Hockey Club in Newtownabbey began with Ireland taking control of proceedings very early on. As early as the 3rd minute Ireland could have edged themselves in front as great play from Anna O'Flanagan to take down an accurate Audrey O'Flynn arial ball led to the forward player weaving her way through the Wales defence before setting up Katie Mullan who couldn't convert the opportunity. Ireland dominated possession with Wales only real chance coming about as a result from slack Irish possession in their own half of the field. Nikki Evans, Chloe Watkins and Deirdre Duke all went close for Ireland with strikes on goal but as the teams headed for the break, the home support were bemused as to how Ireland didn't have the lead their play deserved.

The early part of the second half was a scrappy affair as neither team grabbed the opportunity to take the game to each other. Naomi Carroll had the best chance for Ireland in these early exchanges as her mazy run and shot was palmed away by the welsh keeper. With 20 minutes to play, Ireland were awarded their first penalty corner of the game following good work from Frazer & O'Flanagan but Audrey O'Flynn's resulting drag flick flashed wide. With 13 minutes to play, Ireland finally grabbed the lead as the impressive Nikki Evans touched home from close range following more great vision from Naomi Carroll for the Green Army.

It was a breakthrough that Ireland deserved and the lead should have been extended less than a minute later when Emily Beatty set up O'Flanagan in front of goal who saw her scuffed effort blocked comfortably. Ireland were punished for their wayward finishing when with only 3 minutes remaining Katherine Budd converted Wales first penalty corner of the day to secure what seemed for large parts of the game like an unlikely draw.

Ireland went all out in the remaining few minutes to try to restore their lead however time ran out for the Green Army and they were left disappointed with the draw in the end.

Speaking after the game, Electric Ireland Senior International Coach, Darren Smith said "It was a faltering performance today. We were a little tentative and gave the ball up a bit easy at times. In the attacking third we lacked precision at key moments. Overall, we are still a work in progress and we have to make sure that we give the players good clarity in what we need to achieve as a team. Tomorrow is another great opportunity to do that"

Ireland will face Scotland tomorrow at Mossley Hockey Club with a 7pm start. Ireland International Shirley McCay will continue the recent milestone achievements with the Electric Ireland Senior International Team by earning her 150th cap.

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