Posted: 1 week ago


Ireland took a step towards a potential place in next year’s FIH Pro League by beating Korea 4-0 to qualify for a semi-final against New Zealand on Saturday evening.

Ireland world ranked #13 took on Korea world ranked #12 in their final POOL A match at the FIH Nations Cup game in Terrassa Spain, this afternoon. After their opening two games both sides had won one and lost one of their matches and were level on goal difference of minus one. Ireland were ahead on goals scored so a draw might have been enough for Ireland to go through.

Ireland opened the scoring when Hannah Mc Loughlin converted a 27th minute penalty corner. Sarah Hawkshaw added a second from a penalty corner in the 30th minute and Ireland led  2-0 at half-time. Ireland’s captain Katie Mullan scored a goal from open play in the 54th minute to make it 3-0 to Ireland. In the dying seconds Roisín Upton converted a penalty corner to make the final score 4-0 to Ireland.

Ireland started well out of the traps. In the 4th minute Naomi Carroll rattled the backboard but the goal was disallowed for the illegal use of the backstick. Two minutes later Niamh Carey had a chance to score but was denied by Korean goalkeeper Eun Ji Kim. Christina Hamill won a penalty corner for Ireland in the 6th minute. Hannah McLoughlin’s drag flick hit the upright and was cleared. Ireland won a penalty corner in the 10th minute when Naomi Carroll’s effort was blocked by a Korean defender using the back stick. Hannah McLoughlin’s drag flick appeared to be deflected wide but Ireland were not awarded a long corner. In the 13th minute Sarah Hawkshaw shot from outside the semi-circle and managed to rattle the backboard. Unfortunately, one needs to be inside the opposition semi-circle for the goal to count so it was disallowed. It was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Korea were down to 10 players in the 19th minute when their captain Seo Jungeun was green carded. During those minutes Ireland won two penalty corners. The first time it was taken a Korean player ran out too early and was removed from the goal defending duties. During the retaken effort Elena Neill’s drag flick was saved by goalkeeper Eun Ji Kim, but the rebound fell to Sarah Torrans who shot the ball wide. A minute or so later Eun Ji Kim was alert to deny Síofra O’Brien who got a pass from Elena Neill who was playing her 150th international match for Ireland.

In the 27th minute Ireland finally got their breakthrough. A penalty corner for Ireland was converted by Hannah McLoughlin whose strike put Ireland 1-0 up. Korea responded with a penalty corner in the 28th minute but Suyoung Seo’s effort went wide. In the 29th minute Katie Mullan had a shot go over the bar. But Ireland were not to be denied. In the final minute of the first half Ireland were awarded a penalty corner. Sarah Hawkshaw converted the penalty corner to make it 2-0. This is the third time Sarah Hawkshaw has scored against Korea in the past three occasions she has played against them. Ireland went in 2-0 ahead at half-time.

Ireland started the second half with a player advantage as Korean captain Seo Jungeun was yellow carded for five minutes at the end of the previous half. But there was no change in the scoreline and Ireland were not adversely affected by Christina Hamilli’s 2-minute green card in the 38th minute either. Eun Ji Kim saved to deny Ireland a further goal in the 39th minute diving to her right to deny Naomi Carroll a chance to increase Ireland’s lead. Korea did have a penalty corner in the 40th minute but An Sijun put it wide. Ireland kept the pressure on, and Korean goalkeeper Eun Ji Kim denied Ireland twice in the 43rd minute saving firstly from Síofra O’Brien and then seconds later from Naoimi Carroll. Korea never really threatened the Irish goal from open play during the second half.

Ireland eventually got a third goal when captain Katie Mullan crowned her player of the match performance, by scoring from open play in the 54th minute to make it 3-0 to Ireland. But that wasn’t to be the end of the scoring. Ireland looked for a penalty corner in the dying seconds. Roisín Upton appealed to the video umpire who agreed that the incident she was asking about merited a penalty corner. Roisín Upton’s dragflick hit the back board in what proved to be the final action of the game in the 60th minute to make the final score Ireland 4 Korea 0.

Only a huge win for Italy over Spain could change the opponents in the semi-finals. So Spain should be playing Chile on Saturday in the opening semi-final while Ireland play the Blacksticks from New Zealand in the later semi-final on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. Irish time.

Speaking after the match Ireland captain Katie Mullan providing her reaction to reaching the semi-final, said: “I think the character and resilience of this amazing group of women is just phenomenal. We came out and fought hard today. We did everything we said we would do. But it’s how we show up every single day that is the reason we got the result today. On to the next!”

On the importance of the Irish support Ireland captain Katie Mullan said: “They’ve been incredible. They are there through thick and thin. And they give us an extra lift every day. Thanks very much to everyone in Green.”

IRELAND:- Liz Murphy (GK) ; Sarah McAuley; Elena Neill; Roisin Upton; Ellen Curran; Katie McKee; Charlotte Beggs; Sarah Torrans, Michelle Carey; Katie Mullan (C) ; Niamh Carey;

SUBS USED:- Sarah Hawkshaw [ mins] ; Hannah McLoughlin [ mins] ; Caoimhe Perdue [ mins] ; Naomi Carroll [ mins] ; Christina Hamill [ mins] ; Síofra O’Brien [ mins]  Holly Micklem [ 55 mins]

KOREA :- Eunji Kim (GK) ; Yujin Kim ; Jungeun Seo (C) ; Eunbi Cheon; Hyejin Cho ; Yuri Lee; Suyoung Seo ; Huigyeong Hong ; Seungae Park ; Sujin AN; Eunji KIM;

SUBS USED :-   Saena Jeong [ 4 mins] ; Minjeong Kim [ 9 mins] ;  Seoyeong Park [ 5 mins] ; Yeongeun Park  [4 mins ] ;  Ji yun Choi [ 21 mins] ; Yu Jin Ji  [28 mins]