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3rd Women’s Hockey World League Round 2: Ireland edge out hosts Spain 1-0

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World number 14 Ireland has been having a bit of an up-and-down run in the third women’s Hockey World League Round 2 tournament being played in the Spanish city of Valencia.

The Irish eves started their campaign on a rollicking note, thumping 37th ranked Czeck Republic 4-1 in their opening match before they suffered a setback of sorts when they crashed to a 0-2 loss to 21st ranked Belarus, which put a serious dent on their qualifying hopes.

Given this scenario, Ireland’s third match against hosts Spain was of crucial interest as it was a game they had to win to keep themselves in the hunt for a berth in the Hockey World League semifinals.

On a sunny day, hosts Spain, who won their first two matches needed to press the urgency button after they were handed the first defeat of the tournament by 17th ranked Italy in their third match.

In fact, Ireland played to a plan and nullified the goal-scoring designs of Spain, who seemed jitterier of the two with the goalless scoreline.

The first stanza witnessed end-to-end action. Ireland were awarded a penalty stroke in the 24th minute of play. Audrey O’Flynn made no mistake and converted the setpiece easily to trigger celebrations in the Irish camp.

Stung by the goal, Spain went all out in pursuit for the much-needed equalizer and even forced a penalty corner just before half-time but they muffed up that opportunity.

Ireland led Spain 1-0 at the break.

Spain attacked in waves in the second half but the Irish defence held out stoutly. Ireland had a chance to score an insurance goal in the 62nd minute as they forced a short corner. But they could not profit from it, which kept Spain in the contest.

Ireland soaked up all the pressure in the closing stages to cling no to a solitary goal win.

In another match, Italy posted their straight win, crushing Czeck Republic 8-0. Wybieralaska whipped home a PC in the 3rd minute to draw first blood. Gonzalez Casale doubled the lead with another PC conversion before Mirabella scored the first field goal to help her side take a 3-0 lead at the break.

Wybieralaska scored another PC goal to make it 4-0 before they soon made it 5-0. Tiddi struck the sixth goal for Italy.

Padalino slammed a penalty corner goal to make it 7-0 before she added another to her tally, scoring a field goal as Italy wrapped up the match with a 8-0 walloping of Czeck Republic.

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