The Ireland women’s hockey team failed to repeat their heroics of the Champions Challenge tournament as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to Scotland in Friday night’s international in Glasgow.
Darren Smith’s side will have a chance to make amends on Saturday when the teams meet again in the second match of the two test series.
It was end-to-end stuff for most of an entertaining 70 minutes on Friday as the Scots gave themselves a boost before they host the Commonwealth Games at the same venue next month.
Less than a month ago the Irish had come away from Commonwealth venue with a set of silver medals at the Champions Challenge.
But this was their first game since they lost 3-1 in the final to the United States while the Scots have been more active as they aim to peak when they host the Commonwealth series at the end of July.
Four Ulster players were included in the starting line up, Pegasus striker Vanessa Surgeoner, who was winning her second cap, being joined by goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran, team captain Megan Frazer and Alex Speers, who had missed out on a place in the Champions Challenge squad due to exam commitments.
Scotland made a great start forcing two early penalty corners and they took the lead in the eighth minute when Aileen Davis set up Nicola Lloyd for the opener.
But former Ballymoney striker Frazer, who was named player-of-the-tournament at the Champions Challenge, equalized in the 25th minute when she found the net from the edge of the circle.
The Scots made it 2-1 at the break when Nikki Kidd scored an opportunist goal three minutes later.
After an evenly contested second half the hosts made sure of the win when Kidd got her second goal, scoring from a twice-taken penalty corner with a minute on the clock
Ireland had a chance to pull a goal back with the last play of the game but the Scottish keeper saved well from Emma Smyth’s rising shot at a set-piece, leaving the visitors needed a win tomorrow (11am) to square the series.