Goal-hungry Ireland rip Singapore apart

Ireland’s players Roisin Upton and Zoe Wilson celebrate with fans after yesterday’s comprehensive victory over Singapore in Banbridge. Picture: INPHO/Presseye/Jonathan Porter

Ireland 11 - 0 Singapore

The Green Army marched into the semi-final of the FIH Series finals with the minimum of fuss as their 11-0 win over Singapore at Banbridge puts them one win away from a guaranteed direct Olympic qualifier tie.

In truth, this was as much of a mismatch as the world ranking would suggest as Ireland — world number eight — blew apart a side rated 35th.

Seven first half goals saw Ireland threaten to break their all-time goal scoring record.

The scoring slowed after half-time, leaving the 13-0 success over Finland in the 1991 European Championship qualifiers still in the history books, but it was very much a case of job done.

Megan Frazer opened the scoring seven minutes in with a simple volley after Roisin Upton’s initial drag-flick.

It was Frazer’s first international goal in almost three years, a spell in which she battled a series of cruciate ligament issues.

A quality near-post touch from Katie Mullan and a beautiful backhand shot from Gillian Pinder by the 11th minute pretty much made the game safe.

Singapore spent the game protecting their circle but to little avail, conceding 10 penalty corners before the break from which Upton scored twice while Lena Tice slammed in another.

Sarah Hawkshaw made it two goals in two games for the 7-0 interval lead.

The third quarter was scoreless before Anna O’Flanagan, Hannah Matthews, Mullan, and Zoe Wilson added the extras down the final stretch.

“We started with a good intensity and energy, moved the ball quickly and got ourselves ahead,” interim coach Gareth Grundie said of the performance.

It is more about trying to stick to the style of hockey we want to play — a high-paced, fast tempo game where we encourage ourselves to dictate the tempo.

“Singapore made it difficult in the third quarter, got numbers back, but we upped the energy in the last quarter.”

Ireland now await their final four opponent who will be determined tomorrow evening when the quarter-finals play out.

It gives the side a precious chance to rest up for three days for the business end of the competition, particularly for a player like Upton who has been lining out with heavy strapping on her right leg.

“It is keeping me in one piece!” the Limerick woman joked of the bandaging.

“Whatever it takes! This is phase one complete now — we have waited a long eight or nine months since the World Cup for this round of qualifiers. Having three days off gives us a great chance to regroup.”

Scorers for Ireland: R Upton 2, K Mullan 2, M Frazer, G Pinder, S Hawkshaw, L Tice, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson.

IRELAND: A McFerran, R Upton, S McCay, M Frazer, L Tice, G Pinder, B Barr, C Watkins, S Hawkshaw, Z Wilson, D Duke .

Subs: K Mullan, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan A Meeke, E Buckley.

SINGAPORE: F Lai, P Maligaya, N A Abdull, I Chan, P Ho, N S Saban, L M Toh, L Tan, R Sanip, G Leck.

Subs: J Ng, S Wong, C Chia, S Ng, M Francis, X Chua, Y T Liu.

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