Ireland through to World League 2 final

Ireland's Naomi Carroll
Ireland's Naomi Carroll

The Ireland women’s hockey team cruised into the final of the World League 2 tournament with a 7-0 win over Belarus in Dublin which sees them through to the next stage of Olympic qualifying.

It was a superb first half display that killed the game off as the hosts racked up five goals without reply.

Nikki Evans hit the opener after only two minutes after being set up by Katie Mullan.

Two minutes later Anna O’Flanagan made it 2-0 and Megan Frazer added number three from the penalty spot shortly afterwards.

In the second period, Ireland were equally impressive as they continued to dominate against the side that ended their qualifying hopes for the last World Cup.

Ulster’s Shirley McCay set up Naomi Carroll for goal number four early on and then Emma Smyth got on the score sheet to make it 5-0 at the half time break.

Evans got her second and Mullan were on target in the second half as Ireland eased into Sunday’s final, probably against either Chile or Canada.

Meanwhile, it looks like Lisnagarvey will face a relegation play off, if there is one, after a 1-1 draw with Lurgan at Comber Road.

Garvey are now level on 13 points with Harlequins but the latter have a superior goal difference and one game to play albeit a tough one against Pegasus.

If Quins can avoid a defeat by more than four goals in the game, then they will be guaranteed eighth place and safety.

The Hillsborough team took the lead in the 10th minute when a great run by Stephanie McCullough allowed Jasmine Kirkwood an easy finish from close in.

In an entertaining first half both goalkeepers were kept busy as Lurgan’s Naomi Cosgrove and Leah Young pulled off some fine stops.

Shortly after the restart, Young denied Chloe McCann with a superb double save as Lurgan went in search of the equaliser.

Just when it looked like Garvey would hang on for a crucial three points, the visitors got the goal they deserved when Sarah McClure scored with a terrific back hand shot with nine minutes left.

Pegasus meanwhile beat Queen’s 3-1 with goals from Suzanne Ferris, Alex Speers and Stephanie Thompson, with Hannah McMillan replying for the students.

Chloe Brown hit a hat trick as champions Ards finished with their campaign with an 8-0 drubbing against Quins at Deramore where Rachel Barton (2), Amy Benson (2) and Kerri McDonald also got on the mark.