A late equaliser from Audrey O’Flynn earned Ireland a superb point from a 2-2 draw with South Africa in their opening Champions Challenge game in Glasgow on Sunday.
The result came as something of a surprise considering Ireland’s opponents are among the favourites to secure a medal at the competition.
South Africa also have a higher world ranking while the Irish are listed seventh of the eight teams contesting the series at the venue which will host the Commonwealth Games in the summer.
But on the basis of Sunday’s display Darren Smith’s team have a decent chance of going one better than that and defying the seedings.
They take on Spain on Monday and the USA on Tuesday in pursuit of that overall objective so will have little time to celebrate Sunday’s result.
Yesterday Ireland gave as good as they got against their higher-ranked opponents and with better finishing from penalty corners, could have won the game.
The South Africans were bitterly disappointed at the final whistle while Irish eyes were, quite literally, smiling and understandably so.
Irish captain, Ulster woman Megan Frazer, was delighted at the outcome which bodes well for the rest of the tournament.
“We showed a lot of character to come back twice and we could even have won it near the end but we’ll take the draw.” said the Holcombe striker, formerly of Ballymoney.
“We decided on a more defensive strategy and tried to contain them and hit them on the break and our tactics worked well I thought.
“We played well against a very good team.”
Ireland: A.McFerran, C.Sargent, E. Smyth, S.McCay, M.Frazer, A.O’Flynn, C.Watkins, K.Mullan, A.O’Flanagan, G.Pinder, E.Dillon
Subs: M Harvey, N Evans, N Carroll, N Daly, A Meeke, E Beatty, E Gray.
Today: Ireland v India (4pm).