Irish women's hockey team ease to win after early scare

Irish women's hockey team ease to win after early scare

Ireland's women survived an early fright to get their Athlon FIH Road to London campaign underway with a 5-1 win over France in Beerschot, Belgium today.

Gwenaelle Dutel gave the underdog French a shock early lead from a breakaway but captain Alex Speers scored at the second attempt to equalise in the 20th minute.

It was all Ireland thereafter and they took the lead on the half-time hooter when Cork native Andrey O'Flynn dragged home a short corner for 2-1.

Gene Muller's side then ran riot in the second half, beginning with a stunning solo goal from Kilkenny's Aine Connery, beating two defenders and lobbing the French goalkeeper, before Lisa Jacob deflected in Nicci Daly's crash ball for number four.

Michelle Harvey completed the rout with another drag-flick to leave coach Muller feeling positive ahead of tomorrow's clash with Russia.

"It was a good start to the tournament for us," said Muller. "We were a little tentative at the beginning and conceded early as a result.

"After they scored we played ourselves into the match and grew in confidence. We now need to perform well tomorrow."

IRELAND: Emma Gray (GK), Nikki Symmons, Cliodhna Sargent, Sinead McCarthy, Audrey O'Flynn, Emma Smyth, Lizzie Colvin, Alex Speers (capt), Aine Connery, Lisa Jacob.

Rolling subs: Michelle Harvey, Emma Clarke, Nicci Daly, Miriam Crowley, Nikki Evans.

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