HOCKEY: Ireland finish series on a high

Ireland finished the final series against Spain with a comprehensive 5-2 victory.

Ireland were the hungirer of the sides right from the start and within two minutes had taken the lead after good work by Chloe Brown down the left baseline set up Emma Smyth for a tidy finish.

Ireland extended their lead in the 11th minute with a lovely team goal when a steal by Frazer set up Mullan and it left a diving Duke to tap in at the far post for a 2-0 lead. Minutes later O’Flanagan shot from the top of the circle was narrowly wide.

Frazer drive resulted in Irelands first penalty corner of the game in the 22nd minute but her strike was saved and a minute later Ireland were three up a great goal by Nikki Daly from the base line scoring from an acute angle.

It was all Ireland and good work by Mullan forced their second penalty corner and whilst the initial shot from Sargent was saved O’Flanagan was first to react to the rebound to finish and give Ireland a 4-0 cushion.

A minute later Spain got their first goal when Beatriz Perez finished in the 26m and within five minutes were right back in the game when Lola Riera scored from a penalty corner.

The second half saw both goalkeepers Gray and Ruiz called into action on several occasions but no further goals until a 70 metre pass from Sargent in the 62nd minute found Katie Mullan all alone in the circle and the young UCD forward showed composure to round the keeper and fire home to give Ireland a 5-2 victory

After the game Irish Coach Darren Smith thanked both France and Spain for an excellent series of matches .

“France got better as the tournament progressed and Spain are a quality side showing consistency throughout,” he said. “We enjoyed the two weeks and it was great to be able to play eight matches and build on our systems and structures developed over the year. “I thought today in the first 20m we were excellent and created a number of opportunities and I was also happy the way we closed out the second half. We now look forward to more test matches towards end of 2014.”

IRELAND: Ayeisha McFerran GK; Cliodhna Sargent; Chloe Brown; Megan Frazer; Nicci Daly; Anna O’Flanagan; Emma Smyth; Nikki Evans; Shirley McCay; Gillian Pinder; Yvonne O’Byrne;

Reserves: Emma Gray (GK); Katie Mullan; Deirdre Duke; Kate Dillon; Ali Meeke; Hannah Matthews; Chloe Watkins