Ireland make winning start with victory over Ukraine

Ireland's  Megan Frazer
Ireland's Megan Frazer

Ireland made an impressive start to their World League 2 campaign on Saturday as they coasted to a 5-0 win over Ukraine in Dublin.

However Sunday’s clash with Canada is likely to pose more of a challenge for Darren Smith’s side.

Ireland need a top two finish to guarantee themselves progression to the next stage of the qualifying process for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Their final group opponents, Turkey, the lowest ranked team in the tournament at 39 in the world, should not be too difficult to beat.

So the emphasis will be on beating Canada on Sunday to stay on course to top the section and have a potentially easier quarter final against the bottom team in the other pool.

Ireland got off to a dream start when two goals from Anna O’Flanagan - both from open play - helped them into a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Cliodhna Sargent made it 3-0 with a clinical penalty corner conversion after she received a pass from Shirley McCay, one of five Ulster players in the squad.

Another of them, Ireland captain, Megan Frazer, added number four from the penalty spot after ‘feet’ on the line in the third period.

Aine Connery completed the scoring as she made it 5-0 from a set piece and the final 15 minutes saw no addition to the goal tally but it was ‘job done’ by that stage.

Meanwhile Ards took another step towards the Premier League title as Emma Reid hit a hat trick in the 6-1 win at Lisnagarvey.

Now Ards can lift the trophy if they secure a point from their two remaining games, both against Harlequins, starting with Wednesday’s night’s encounter.

Reid scored twice in the opening seven minutes before Garvey pulled one back through Jasmine Kirkwood.

But Kerri McDonald made it 3-1 and Janice Vaughan added another goal before the break.

Ards hit two more in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as Reid completed her treble and Becky Weir converted from the penalty spot.

Elsewhere Zoe Wilson also hit a hat trick as Randalstown beat Harlequins 3-2 at Deramore while Chloe McCann’s second half equaliser earned Lurgan a 1-1 draw at Ballymoney.