WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Ireland into quarter-finals of WL3 and eye World Cup spot

Ireland's Shirley McCay
Ireland's Shirley McCay

Ireland beat Poland to clinch a place in the quarter-finals of World League 3 and maintain their push for a place in next year’s World Cup finals.

Monkstown forward Nikki Evans and UCD midfielder Gillian Pinder scored the goals which secured Wednesday’s vital victory in Johannesburg,

Ireland play Olympic champions England in their final pool fixture on Sunday.

Victory in the quarter-finals would see the Irish seal a berth in the World Cup finals to be held in London.

Ireland dominated the game against Poland but struggled to convert their pressure into goals.

It took a piece of individual skill from Evans to hold off two Polish defenders before neatly finishing on the reverse stick to open the scoring in the first quarter.

Ireland extended their lead in the third quarter when a loose ball in the circle was picked up by Pinder who fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the Polish net.

Captain Mullan said: “Absolutely delighted. We came here with Poland as our target game for three points so job done.

“We wanted to play at the intensity we played the first two games at and I think we did that in patches; other patches not so much.

“Maybe we left a couple of goals out there today but hopefully we can pick them up later in the tournament.”

Coach Graham Shaw concurred, and added: “It wasn’t the best performance but we will take it.

“There is a lot of pressure in these games and the most important thing is we got the win and secured the quarter-final place.”

We can rest no and look forward to playing England on Sunday.”