Posted: 6 days ago

Ireland Women beat New Zealand to reach FIH Nations Cup Final against tournament hosts Spain

IRELAND made history today beating New Zealand for the first time and putting themselves only 60 minutes away from a place in the 2024-25 FIH Pro League. They also finally lifted their semi-finals hoodoo and now face hosts Spain in Sunday’s final (6.30pm BST). 

New Zealand went into this match on 9 previous occasions, never having lost to Ireland. For Ireland all that mattered was a place in tomorrow’s FIH Women’s Nations Cup Final.  

The first half was scoreless. New Zealand took the lead in 35th minute when Rose Tynan had a shot twice blocked by Liz Murphy but forced the third one over the line 1-0 New Zealand. Ireland drew level in the 39th minute when Sarah Hawkshaw converted a penalty corner. 1-1. It stayed that way until the end of the 3rd quarter. 

Sarah Hawkshaw struck again in the 51st minute to give Ireland a 2-1 lead. And that gave Ireland their place in Sunday’s FIH Nations Cup Final against Spain who defeated Chile in the second semi-final. 

Both sides forced two penalty corners and created numerous chances. Neither could carve out a definite clear-cut opportunity.  There were a few near misses. Liz Murphy and Brooke Roberts were both effective at keeping the opening quarter scoreless and it was no surprise when it was scoreless at half-time.  

Things changed in the third quarter as the deadlock was finally broken and when the goal came it was down to the tenacity of Rose Tynan who, despite being denied twice by Liz Murphy in the 35th minute, made the third effort count. Liz Thompson was green carded in the 38th minute and Ireland equalised a minute later. Ireland were awarded a penalty corner and Elena Neill found a Kiwi foot and got a second set piece. Her second drag flick found Roisín Upton who passed to Katie Mullan. Mullan’s first time pass was tapped home at the far post by Sarah Hawkshaw. 1-1with 21 minutes to go, game on ! 

In the fourth quarter, Sarah Hawkshaw struck again in the 51st minute. She cut into the semi-circle from the right along the end line and her shot found its way into the net, 2-1 to Ireland.  

New Zealand withdrew their goalkeeper in favour of an extra attacker in the 57th minute. But it was to no avail as captain Frances Davies’ final minute yellow card reduced them to 10 players to see out the match. Ireland won 2-1 and are in the FIH Nations Cup Final on Sunday with the real prize being that spot in next season’s FIH PRO LEAGUE.  

Speaking after the game player of the match Sarah Hawkshaw said: “I think today it was a bit of a battle. We knew that we had set ourselves up for a battle, and I think it took a lot of resilience to get through that. Very proud of all the players and support staff.”

“We knew that wasn’t the real Ireland team that showed up in the opening game with Spain, and that performance was not going to define us in this tournament. We’ve learned a lot since then. We’re going to bring a new set of positives into tomorrow and we’ll be ready for whoever emerges from tonight’s second semi-final.” 

NEW ZEALAND:- Brooke Roberts (GK); Olivia Shannon; Frances Davies (C); Casey Crowley; Samantha Child; Stephanie Dickens; Megan Hull; Katie Doar; Rose Tynan; Anna Willocks; Emma Rainey: SUBS USED Hannah Cotter [ 7 mins] ; Hannah Gravenall [ 4 mins] ; Kaitlin Cotter [ 4 mins] ; Jessie Anderson [ 4 mins] ; Emma Findlay  [ 7 mins ] ; Liz Thompson [ 4 mins] 

IRELAND:- Liz Murphy (GK) ; Elena Neill, Sarah McAuley; Roisín Upton; Ellen Curran; Sarah Torrans; Charlotte Beggs; Katie McKee; Michelle Carey; Naomi Carroll; Katie Mullan (C) SUBS USED:- Hannah McLoughlin [ 5 mins] ; Caoimhe Perdue  [ 4 mins ]; Sarah Hawkshaw [ 5 mins ]; Christina Hamill [ 5 mins] ; Niamh Carey [3 mins ]; Siofra O’Brien [ 6 mins] ;