Ireland secured a 4-0 victory over Belarus on Thursday in the Eurohockey Championships II semi-final to earn a spot in the final but also promotion to the top division in European hockey.
The Green Army dominated a game that at times lacked fluidity and required focused defending from both sides. Naomi Carroll scored Ireland’s first goal in the 8th minute, a simple tap in and her fourth goal of the tournament.
Megan Frazer created several chances throughout the game and was rewarded with a goal in the 22nd minute.
Shirley McCay made it 3-0 six minutes later as she swept the ball goalward during a penalty corner routine.
McCay also earned her 208th cap for Ireland today, equalling Nikki Symmons record as the most capped woman in Irish hockey history!
The second half saw a period of increased pressure from the Belarussian side but McFerran showed her ever-increasing experience to keep a clean sheet. An intricate link up between Katie Mullan and Chloe Brown in the circle should have ended up in the back of the net but the final goal didn’t come until the 64th minute, courtesy of Brown as she scored her third goal of the tournament.
The win means Ireland are promoted to Division A, the top division, in European hockey.
Coach Graham Shaw said “We’re happy with the result and the performance today. We controlled the phases well and created a lot of chances.
“We set a target of gaining promotion back to A Division which is very important for us as a group going forward. We are delighted with achieving that and are looking forward to the final on Saturday”.
Ireland will play in the final on Saturday at 2:15pm (Irish time). The match can be watched live on Playo.tv.
Team: McFerran, Brown, Mullan, McCay, Frazer (C), Carroll, Pinder, Watkins, Daly, Matthews, Sargent
Subs: Davis, O’Byrne, Lloyd, Duke, McDonald, Meeke, Beatty.